On Friday Nov. 9, from 11a.m. to 7 p.m., students waited to donate blood in the Grewcock Student Union while others reclined on tables, stress balls in hand to help the blood flow. The Community Health GOAL program hosted its first blood drive with the Red Cross, partnering with Simpson Dormitory and the New Dorm. Volunteers spent the beginning of the week launching a social media campaign about the benefits of donating blood and asking students to sign up as donors.
Junior Nate Gipe, a blood drive volunteer and cancer survivor, is a positive proponent of the benefits of donating blood. At the age of 16, Gipe was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and had to go through several blood transfusions as part of his treatment.
“I personally experienced the benefits of blood drives,” Gipe said. “I remember getting multiple blood transfusions, sometimes several a day, and even a bone marrow transfusion during my cancer treatment. And even though I can’t donate blood because of the leukemia, I still wanted to be a part of this incredible project.”
Sarah Becker, junior and student leader of the Community Health GOAL program, organized a core team of volunteers, advertisers, and donor recruiters. Becker said the donation turnout was so great that some donors had to be turned away because the Red Cross staff handling the donations did not have enough people to handle the volume.
“Organizing the blood drive has really opened my eyes to the importance of donating blood,” Becker said. “We forget how human the process is.”
More than 50 students volunteered at the day-long event, and over 100 students donated blood throughout the day.
Gipe volunteered in everything from the sign-up table to the registration booth to the snacks table for the blood donors. He encourages others who may be nervous to donate blood by explaining the good that can come from their donations.
“You can save 3 lives with 1 donation. If you are nervous, bring a friend for support,” Gipe said. “And even if you don’t donate now, set a goal for yourself to donate in the future.”
Gipe said he takes life one day at a time trying to make each day as positive as possible and hopes other people see that acts of charity like donating blood bring hope to the lives of people like him.
Adrianne Fogg, a junior and another volunteer with the blood drive, said she has been involved with the Hillsdale blood drive since her freshman year. Fogg ran the social media platform leading up to the blood drive itself.
“I wanted to share stories of people like me who have personally seen the benefits that come about from a blood drive,” Fogg said. “I feel like a lot of people were touched by the stories.”
Along with donating her time, Fogg was a first-time blood donor this year, saying she wanted to “take a moment of courage in my life for the sake of someone else’s.”
Becker and her team for the Community Health program plan on hosting another successful blood drive next semester in February. Details on the specific day have not been finalized, but the goal is to have more volunteers and an even greater turnout of donors for those in need.