A blood bag and some of the other equipment used during the Red Cross blood drive.
Photo by Alexa Henderson

A Red Cross blood drive was held on Wednesday, Oct. 21 in the Great Room at the Yellowjacket Union from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. Alexander Rice, a double major in Biology and Chemistry, is also the Red Cross blood program leader for UWS.

“On average, you will need a blood transfusion in your life, whether it be from some sort of accident or a surgery,” Rice said. “The fresh red blood cells last only a few weeks and need a constant resupply to make sure there is enough.”

Every individual has one of eight different blood types — A+, A-, B+, B-, O+, O-, AB+, AB-, and, with such a wide variety, it is crucial that people donate when they can if they are eligible to. Blood types almost always need to match during transfusion except for O- and AB. Someone in the United States relies on a one-pint blood transfusion to save their life every two seconds. People who might depend on these transfusions include our servicemen and women, people recovering from surgery, or any victim of mass blood loss.

The two types of transfusions that people need are red cell and plasma. Both are procured during the donation process. The universal red cell donor is type O-, while the universal plasma donor is type AB. The O- type blood is considered the universal donor because an individual with this type can have their blood used on anyone.

The demand for O- blood is the highest because only 7% of the US population has O- blood, making it the rarest. This is compared to O+ which 37% of the population has, making it the most common. O- blood is most commonly used during emergencies because of its universality.

“I think a lot of people are scared because they think it hurts, but it’s only a pinch,” Rice said. “That one pinch can literally save someone’s life. It’s incredibly important to donate.” Rice hopes to host another blood drive in the spring and hopes that the participants from this time around will donate next time as well, because donors are only allowed to donate every eight weeks.

For more information on blood donation, please visit the Red Cross at www.redcrossblood.org