Saint Leo University is known for its close relationship with BloodNetUSA, with a focus on the core value of responsible stewardship. Throughout the academic year the university hosts numerous blood drives in association with the charity, and with Valentine’s Day approaching there is a push for one to not only give their heart, but also to consider giving some blood.
Last month the University hosted a blood drive outside of the Caf on Jan. 27 for any willing Saint Leo donors. However, on average, only 50 of the approximate 2,100 students enrolled on campus actually participate. The aim is to turn this around and get more and more students actively involved in ‘responsible stewardship’ and giving back to their community.
So why should a Saint Leo student donate blood? There are plenty of reasons to donate blood; however, when it comes right down to it, donating blood truly is a lifesaver. From tiny infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units, to elderly individuals needing a vital surgery for one last chance at life, blood donations go on to help all sorts of people from all different ethnic backgrounds, ages and walks of life.
Blood donations are constantly in demand, as donated blood can only be used for several weeks in most cases. Usually hospitals are unable to know how much blood of a certain type they will require to help their patients, this is especially true when a large-scale disaster takes place, as there will be a dramatic increase in the demand for blood. Saint Leo students can help resolve this issue by donating every eight weeks when the blood donation vans arrive on campus .
Student donations can help ensure that ill and injured individuals receive the medical attention and care they need. It’s important to note that it’s not just trauma patients that need blood. Blood donations benefit premature babies, cancer patients, individuals with sickle cell anemia and individuals undergoing surgery. Blood is perishable and it cannot be stored for any extended length of time , therefor regularly donating blood can help ensure that supplies are available on an ongoing basis.
Just last semester the Saint Leo baseball team set another record in donations as they kicked off the 4th Annual Blood Bowl, whereby the BloodNet’s Bloodmobile accepted donations from both teams. The 4th Annual Blood Bowl presented an excellent opportunity for players and Saint Leo students to give back to others in a life-saving manner, furthering the commitment to the Core Values of Community and Responsible Stewardship. Along with the baseball team other athletic divisions on campus have also been encouraged to give blood. When interviewed, Emily Singleton, a member of the Saint Leo University tennis team, described her experience of blood donation as “…a rewarding feeling to give back something within the community especially something in which can save precious lives.” Singleton also stated, “I found out I have the blood type of O which is the universal donor, meaning I can donate red blood cells to anyone. Not only was the experience educational for myself but it felt amazing to know I faced my fears for the good of others.”
The general consensus amongst the students was one of positive feedback , “Part of winning is feeling that you are the best, and donating blood can give you a big personal lift, just from knowing you helped save up to three or four lives.”
The same system is hoped to be achieved this semester, with Saint Leo’s next blood drive being held the following month, for more information see the student activities calendar posted online. Any students who would like to become more aware of blood donation and the impact it can have on people’s lives can visit the BloodNetUSA site atwww.bloodnetusa.com.