Students overwhelm local blood banks
By Katie Baker, Contributing Writer
The Springfield Red Cross was swamped this past week with people hoping to give blood in response to the Tuesday attacks. Amy Summerville '02, vice president of the Student Government Organization (SGO), led a group of 24 students to Springfield on Tuesday in an effort to donate blood. Other students were turned down due to lack of space in the College vehicles. Once there, the group was told it would be a three-hour wait and there would very likely not be any supplies left by the time it was their turn.

"I think it's understandable given the monumental turnout the Red Cross is experiencing," said Summerville. "I think we all want to help in whatever way we can. It's just finding out the best way to do so."

The Thursday SGO-sponsored trip to Springfield was canceled. The Red Cross again had more potential donors than supplies and urged students to give at a later date.

Long lines were not the only obstacles that prevented donation. Prospective donors must meet a variety of eligibility requirements.

"I wanted to give blood but couldn't because I had a hepatitis shot," said Chelsea Leven '05.

Anna Wieckowski '03, along with other College students, waited hours at the Red Cross on Sept. 11. Several of them were turned down for a variety of reasons, including anemia and travel abroad.

"It was hard to realize that the one way we knew of helping our country wasn't going to work," Wieckowski said. "But we decided to make the best of it and hung out in the donation room, cheering on friends and strangers alike and trying to be positive in any way we could."

To give blood, a donor must be at least 17 years old and weigh 110 pounds, according to guidelines written by the American Red Cross.

Those who have had recent surgery or body piercings cannot give blood, according to Jessica Spadola, a volunteer at the Hampshire County Red Cross. There are also limitations on those who have been outside the U.S., which varies depending on the country visited.

According to the Red Cross, blood only has a shelf life of 42 days. Because of this, there will still be a need for blood in the coming weeks.

Issue 03, Submitted 2001-09-19 16:00:47