Blood drive

On Monday, Nov. 6, 115 students donated blood for the UCLA Blood Drive put on by ASB. ASB has been working with UCLA to host the blood drive for years, and this year, in particular, they gathered enough blood to save 345 lives.

ASB members Lucy Pape and Allie Kontsis were in charge of helping organize the event alongside the UCLA representatives, and both believe it went better than planned, despite the potential hazards that students can face when giving blood.

“We had over 200 students sign up, and ended up with 115 donors, and we are so proud and happy about that. So many get turned away for not meeting small requirements, which is why a few times before we haven’t met our goal,” Pape said.

Signing up to donate blood and being considered to undergo the process requires students to meet many prerequisites, including having high enough levels of iron in their blood, weighing at least 110 pounds, and not having any piercings done within the last year. Students are carefully questioned and tested before they even are allowed to donate, which is why some students get turned away.

“You’re donating a pint of blood, which is about an eighth of all of the blood in your body, so you need to be healthy to donate,” explains Pape. “There are so many little requirements that need to be met to ensure the best possible outcome, which is why UCLA does the finger prick and questionnaire beforehand to eliminate donors who don’t make the cut for those little reasons. Its super important to make sure that anyone who donates is healthy enough to do so.”

The process of actually sitting and giving blood can take eight to 10 minutes on average, depending on different factors that affect the process. Donors are required to sit for at least 15 minutes after the process to ensure they are not dizzy or having adverse reactions. Both Kontsis and Pape donated blood and were helping out during the drive the entire day, and said that they had quick experiences but noticed some other students who had more difficult ones.

“How well hydrated you are, what you eat beforehand, and how anxious you are affects how your experience goes, which is why we provide breakfast and a bunch of water. During the process, if students are nervous, UCLA is great about always asking how you are doing and giving donors what they need to be comfortable during and after. I drank a ton of water, so my process was only five minutes and 46 seconds because being hydrated helps the process be easy, and I wasn’t nervous,” says Kontsis.

Junior Grace Yagi had different experiences than other students, as she had reactions to giving blood based on errors by UCLA. Yagi, who has given blood before, said that this time her machine malfunctioned and took an additional 3.4 ounces of blood.

“They said that the machine malfunctioned and took too much of my blood. They sat me down for 45 minutes and checked my vitals every 15 minutes. UCLA did a good job of making sure I was 100% better before they let me go, but I still felt a little weak once I got up and walked around. It was a little scary since it could’ve been worse but I was happy with how the situation was handled,” says Yagi.

Despite minor complications that came with hosting a blood drive, ASB was able to not only get many students to donate, but surpassed their goal of 110 donors. One pint of blood can save as many as three people’s lives, and ASB was able to save 345 lives with the 115 students who donated.

“Thinking about all of the people we have helped by hosting the blood drive is incredible, and this is why we continue to do it every year,” Kontsis said.