Bloodmobile Visits Clark

By Akira Serrano in Life

It was a picturesque morning; the sun shined brightly through scattered clouds and the birds chirped contently.

It was hard-pressed to hear them over the rumble of the Bloodmobile engine, though.

Last Wednesday, the Red Cross parked its blood donation bus in the Camas Quality Foods Center parking lot for the afternoon. This event is one of many opportunities to save someone’s life.

Clark College hosts mobile blood donation events once a month. The next event is the Bloodworks NW Bloodmobile from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. Next week, the American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be on campus Monday and Tuesday.

The Bloodworks Bloodmobile will be parked outside the Penguin Union Building. Donation appointments can be made online, but walk-ins are welcome.

An event organizer for the blood drives said the donation process takes about one hour from start to finish.

“Don’t be intimidated,” said Marianne Luther, the secretary in the Health Science Counseling Center at Clark. Luther is also the coordinator for the blood drives, and a donor.

“[Donating blood] is not as scary as everyone thinks,” she said. “Everyone is really nice.”

Yvette Olive, the donor representative at Bloodworks NW said they try to make the experience as comfortable as possible because “blood is medicine, and [they] really appreciate the donation.”

Bloodworks relies on donations from local schools.

“High school and college students are our largest donor group,” Olive said. “Students make up 20 percent of all donations.”

According to Olive, the Bloodworks blood drives supply blood for hospitals in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. In addition, Bloodworks NW has been the sole blood supplier for the Peace Health hospital for 20 years.

She said since Luther has been organizing the blood donation events, the turnout increased.

On average, each blood drive event at Clark attracts 25 donors, which Olive said is a good turnout.

The Red Cross hosts campus events regularly and the organization collectively supplies 40 percent of the nation’s blood products.

The Red Cross Bloodmobile attracts, on average, 40-50 Clark donors, according to Sonia Cisneros-Arreguin, the donor recruitment account manager at the Red Cross.

“It’s convenient for students and [there are] a lot of our first time donors donate at [schools],” Cisneros said.

Much like Olive, Cisneros-Arreguin coordinates almost daily blood drives in the community.

Donation procedures are similar for both organizations. Donors arrive, fill out necessary forms and present picture ID. Then, they undergo a basic screening to determine their eligibility for donation.

A technician then takes one pint—otherwise known as a unit—of blood from the donor. The blood is stored and taken to a laboratory for blood-borne pathogen testing and separation into red blood cells, platelets and plasma.

According to Olive, the Bloodworks lab is in Renton, Wash. Cisneros-Arreguin said the local Red Cross lab is in Portland, Ore.

Olive said the hospitals receive the blood for use within 48 hours of donation.

She said they always need blood of all types, especially as summer approaches. “More people get into accidents [in the summer], and schools are on vacation, so we need all the donors we can get.”

Further information regarding blood donation can be found on Clark’s event calendar.

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