Tech gives pints, saves lives

April 30, 2009

by Tina Marie Alvarenga

Students and faculty joined together to save lives in Tolliver Hall April 21-23 by donating blood for the annual blood drive hosted by Lifeshare Blood Center.

More than 160 students, faculty and staff donated blood during the drive.

Laurie Ditta, a donor recruiter for Lifeshare, said Tech is the most supportive school for blood drives.

“The students and faculty are awesome, they’re always so good and very polite,” she said. “We get about 200 units of blood from Tech alone – that can save up to 600 lives.”

Ditta said what people do not realize is blood is not always available.

“Many people think if they’re in need of blood, one of their family members could donate,” she said. “It’s not that easy, it takes 48 hours to process blood because Lifeshare runs 13 tests on each pint.”

Justin Beasley, a freshman economics major, said despite his fear of needles, he still donates blood.

“I enjoy giving blood once it’s over,” he said. “Even though I’m terrified of needles, I am comforted to know that I am helping people by donating blood; it’s a feeling of accomplishment once it’s done.”

Beasley said knowing that his donation will save three lives every time he donates encourages him to donate.

“It’s important that everyone donates because anyone can be saved,” he said. “It could be that young child that lives down the street or the older lady at your church.”

Beasley said people of all ages, genders, ethnicities and backgrounds need transfusions.

“It’s our [duty] as citizens to give a helping hand in our community,” he said. “With me being of African-American decent, I am encouraged to give because of the uniqueness [of] African-American blood.
Patients with sickle cell anemia,for example , respond better to the blood of African-Americans than any other.”

Beasley said small acts of kindness really can make a difference.

“Your small but generous donation can go a long way and [you should] know that you are making a difference in someone’s life,” he said. “We are blessed and now it’s time we bless others.”

Lauren Vidrine, a freshman wildlife conservation major, said she wants to help others while she is still able.

“It is amazing how far a little pint of blood can go,” she said. “Different situations need different solutions. If giving a pint of blood can help three different people and their situations, then that to me is what giving should be about.”

Vidrine said she knows giving blood can cause discomfort, but in the end it is rewarding.

“The thing is that the needle they put into your vein and that little pain and discomfort is nothing compared to the pain and suffering of the people who need your blood,” she said. “Giving blood is a way of helping others in ways that I [otherwise could not]. I cannot hold every person’s hand through their tough times, or give them [all] words of comfort, so I give blood.”