Marquette Wire

ROTC hosts blood drive with American Red Cross

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While Marquette hosts various blood drives throughout each academic year, this week’s American Red Cross blood drive in the Gymnasium is more crucial than ever.

The American Red Cross reported that they had to cancel more than 150 blood drives due to severe weather in 2018, causing a critical blood shortage across the nation. From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 2, Marquette community members can donate blood to counteract this shortage.

Marquette ROTC’s Golden Eagle Battalion will be hosting the blood drive and providing the location and volunteers to operate it.

“ROTC also provides volunteers to help check donors and also maintaining the post-donation cantina area that the Red Cross sets up,” ROTC member Jacob Schurter, one of the drive’s student organizers and a senior in the College of Nursing, said.

The drive will have a natural advantage since most donors can simply walk to the Gymnasium rather than drive to a donation center, making inclement weather conditions less of a concern. The Red Cross ultimately retains the decision to cancel or move forward with the drive.

“While we do encourage people that want to donate to set up an appointment online, walk-ins are also welcome at the drive and make up a good portion of the blood we donate,” Schurter said.

The Battalion hosts biannual blood drives in the spring and fall. Schurter said that while they are aware of the blood shortage, the drive was not organized in response to it.

About 13,000 donations are needed every day to provide blood to 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Cancellations have caused an estimated 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected, according to the Red Cross.

“(Winter Storm Grayson) had a significant impact on our blood supply, with blood drives canceled from South Carolina to Maine,” Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Blood Services, said.

The Red Cross also reported 28,000 fewer donations collectively in the months of November and December 2017 than what was needed for those months.

Laura McGuire, a Wisconsin-based external communications manager for the Red Cross, said 455 daily donations are required to operate the Badger-Hawkeye blood services region. The region spans as far south as Iowa City and as far north as Green Bay. The region has been able to meet expectations thus far, and since the Red Cross is a national organization, donations could be sent across the country to communities in critical need of blood.

“Right now, blood donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in, which could affect patient care,” McGuire said. “We are doing everything we can to prevent that from happening.”

McGuire said unless the city of Milwaukee is closed for inclement weather, the drive will likely go on as scheduled.

“Blood cannot be manufactured,” McGuire said. “The only way we can receive blood is through one another. It’s a chance for others to give more life to patients in need.”

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