Edmond Emani, 22, biomechanical engineering major, donates blood during the Cesar Chavez Blood drive on March 25 in the Campus Center East Wing. (Evan Solano/Clarion)
The Associated Students of Citrus College hosted the annual Cesar Chavez Blood Drive Competition last week bringing in 206 units of blood, which has the potential to save approximately 618 lives.
“The national blood drive was created to encourage Latinos and Chicanos to donate blood,” said Sara Acevedo, commissioner of activities for the Associated Students of Citrus College.
The Migrant Students Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization, created the competitive blood drive to promote a ‘Smart & Healthy’ education campaign honoring Cesar E. Chavez and his devotion to improving the life for the migrant community.
Citrus previously won third place among 39 colleges in the second annual Cesar Chavez Blood Drive in 2010. This year’s blood drive results and how many schools are participating will be available this summer.
The blood drive is designed to promote health in the Latino community Acevedo said.
“Blood has a life span,” said Adrienne Thompson, supervisor of student life. “There have been times where surgeries are being postponed because there is not enough blood.”
According to the New York Blood Center, just like milk, the average life span of donated blood is only 42 days. Platelets last for five days and plasma can be frozen for up to a year.
According to Baca-Geary when donating you give up 450 mL of blood, which is the equivalent to 16 oz., about the size of a water bottle.
“One of these ice chests holds 12 units of blood,” Baca-Geary said, “We had to get through 24 people because we had so many deferrals.”
Women with iron deficiencies are the biggest deferrals or disqualifications for blood donation.
People with new tattoos (less than a year old,) with self-piercings, or who have recently traveled in areas with outbreaks of certain diseases can also disqualify an otherwise willing donor.
Although Thompson is unable to donate, sponsoring blood drives is her way of giving back to those in need of transfusions.
“Anyone can get in the car and be apart of a horrific accident and be in need of blood,” Thompson stressed. “What if it’s not there?”
Thompson recognizes that most people say they will donate in the event of a major tragedy when a lot of blood is needed all at once but doesn’t believe people know that there is a time lapse between drawing the blood and testing it so that it is transfusion ready.
“Whether it’s a trauma or elective surgery, donating blood is a cool way to watch people give back,” Baca-Geary said. “It’s actually the ultimate gift, it really is like giving life.”
Thompson has had two relatives saved by blood transfusions, one of whom was an infant.
Citrus placed seventh out of 223 schools in 2014, with the number of schools participating growing every year.
Those who sign up for the blood drive are given “A Chance to Win” a gift card to Starbucks, Chipotle or Cold Stone Creamery.
Donors also received a $5 gift card to In-N-Out from Huntington Hospital.
The student government executive board hosted a club competition to see which one could sign up the most donors for the blood drive.
The Anime Club was the winner of the club competition and received a $50 club contribution.
Although Citrus College was short of its 250 units of blood goal the both Acevedo and Thompson are holding out for a high ranking this summer.