By Bailey Toombs
Every three seconds, someone in the United States needs blood and yet less than five percent of the population donates. If 4.5 million Americans per year would die without lifesaving blood transfusions, then why aren’t healthy and able people volunteering to be donors?
Heidi Matheny, Donor Resource Consultant at the Blood Center of the St. Johns thinks that it is because people are unaware of the need.
“The majority of potential blood donors say they don’t donate because no one ever asked them,” she said.
The Blood Center of the St. Johns is holding a blood drive at Flagler College on April 9 and 10. Matheny hopes that by educating students about the need for blood, they will want to become donors. “We want to set a new high record for the number of donations collected at Flagler College,” she said.
The blood drive will be held in the breezeway from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. According to Matheny, students are eligible to donate if they are in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds, are at least 17 years old and have not gotten a tattoo in the last year.
She explained that getting a first time donor is the hardest part of the donation process. Often, people are afraid of the unknown and do not know what to expect.
“Once they donate for the first time and see how easy it is and how good they feel about saving lives they typically come back to donate again,” Matheny said.
What people tend to not realize is that blood constantly needs to be replenished and that there is no substitute for human blood. Every day, blood is used for operations, accidents, burn victims, leukemia patients and many other things. According to Matheny, each donation has the possibility of saving up to three lives.
“With the help of Flagler College we are hoping to increase the number of registered donors and in turn help our community,” said Matheny.