The Ongoing Need For Life Saving Blood Donors

By CHRISTINA CRAFT

Mary Craig, Account Manager for the American Red Cross North Cobb area, at VKSU blood drive. Photo by Christina Craft.
Mary Craig, Account Manager for the American Red Cross North Cobb area, at VKSU blood drive. Photo by Christina Craft.

Students of Kennesaw State University helped save thousands of lives in blood donations since the fall of 2014 and they will continue to impact those in need in future donations.

According to Mary Craig, an account manager for the American Red Cross, KSU has donated 819 pints of blood since last fall adding up to potentially 2,457 saved lives. Mother Nature has caused the cancellation of over 350 blood drives this year, creating a greater need for future blood drives which can be found in a table at the end of this article.

“One blood donation can help save up to three lives,” said Craig. “Approximately every two seconds a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Regular blood and platelet donations are needed to meet patient demand because an average of 44,000 pints of blood is needed in the United States each day.”

According to Craig, people in need of donated blood include accident and burn victims, people with surgery complications during birth, heart surgery and organ transplant patients and those with cancer or sickle cell disease.

Donations and blood drives are important because red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days and platelets have a shelf life of five days, Craig said.

Donating is a simple process where the potential donor registers, has their history and vitals checked, and then, if eligible, donates blood. The entire process can last around an hour and the donation itself is a 10-minute process, Craig said.

“Eligible donors are always encouraged to donate to avoid a shortage and to help ensure blood is available for patients when they need it,” said Craig.

The American Red Cross partners with Volunteer Kennesaw State University in the hosting of blood drives given in the fall and spring semesters.

According to Dawn Edwards, an Administrative Specialist for VKSU of five and a half years, their partnership with the Red Cross has existed throughout her time working with VKSU.

“We love partnering with the Red Cross because it’s not just about giving back for the blood but also for letting the students know that this resource is available here on campus and that there are blood donation centers off campus as well,” she said.

Edwards said VKSU provides the volunteers and that the Red Cross provides them with marketing materials.

“Our drives here have always been successful and we always reach our goal but a few times we have far exceeded our goals,” said Edwards.

Craig said this partnership has been impactful on a population as substantial as KSU’s.

“Just being here, and working with your VKSU department, and partnering the best outcome and communications to your university to better educate and inform has an overall great full circle approach,” Craig said. “Because the more people that are educated and informed, the more people that are able to participate and the more blood we can actually collect to provide our patients and save lives.”

Craig said her area also includes a partnership with Chattahoochee Technical College and other Marietta campuses where she aims to make the most impact as possible.

Craig’s responsibility as an account manager is to facilitate the blood supply in the North Cobb area, which includes corporate company drives and community drives. She is a regular blood donor who feels working with the Red Cross and sharing its mission is what she was called to do.

“I see myself forever being connected to mission work and directly working with the community and putting on, whether it’s an event or having that direct connect to mission work,” she said.

For those wishing to save lives by donating, a list of future blood drives from February 17 through April in the North Cobb area can be found in the table below.

To make an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, visit www.redcrossblood.org or download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App.

“The translation to what we are doing at the end of the day accounts for pints which counts for lives that are being saved by those units,” said Craig.

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