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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Blood drives are an A+ experience

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Photo courtesy of CST Public Affairs

A blood donor holds a stress ball during a donation on June 28, 2021. 

All it takes is one poke and 15 minutes to save lives in the community.
Blood drives are essential for nonprofits like the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to be able to provide blood to community members in need, such as individuals going through cancer treatment or surgeries. Often, they partner with organizations at Texas A&M, such as the upcoming Global Medical Missions Alliance blood drive located in Rudder Plaza on Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

For those who are unable to donate blood, the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center also has opportunities for volunteers to assist in hosting or working blood drives. Students looking to donate can make an appointment through the Give Blood website where there are both mobile and stationary donation centers available.  

Cameron Palmer is the public relations specialist at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center and said they work with businesses and organizations to organize blood drives.

“We do about 7,000 blood drives every year,” Palmer said. “We do mobile drives in College Station, but we also have neighborhood donor centers as well.”

Palmer said they need about 1,000 units of blood every day to meet community needs and most people don’t realize the importance of donating blood until it affects them directly. 

“There are patients every day from newborns to elderly who need blood,” Palmer said. “I met a little girl who was trying to find a bone marrow match and plasma was keeping her alive.”

Palmer said he would recommend that anyone not feeling well or experiencing symptoms of an illness stay home and reschedule. 

“We’d prefer you have a good experience instead of a bad experience,” Palmer said. “If you’re having flu-like symptoms, wait until you feel better.”
Participants do not need to know their blood type before donating because Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center tests all blood, Palmer said. 

“We want to make sure that everything that is infused into a patient is safe, potent and pure,” Palmer said. “So don’t self-defer yourself.”
Biomedical sciences sophomore Sara Hamad said she gave blood as a freshman, despite her fears, and would recommend the experience to other students as well.

“I didn’t have a great experience when I was younger, so I was a bit squeamish with blood,” Hamad said. “But, they made me feel really comfortable last time.” 

Hamad said the staff listened to how she was feeling while donating, which made the experience a positive one.  

“They’ll give you a stress ball and you can sit there and watch Netflix on your phone for 10-15 minutes,” Hamad said. “Afterwards, they gave me a Gatorade and some snacks.”

Every blood type is welcomed, Hamad said, and students looking to schedule appointments can use the donor portal on the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center website. 

“Whatever blood type you are, even if you’re not the universal donor one, they still need it,” Hamad said. “It’s quick and easy.”

Biomedical sciences sophomore Mahira Khan said she has volunteered twice with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center through the American Medical Students Association. 

“I like volunteering because it’s small steps I can take to help the community,” Khan said. “It’s saving people’s lives.”

For those who are unable to donate blood, Khan said volunteering is also a great way for students to help the cause.

“It’s the little steps that are important too,” Khan said. “I’m personally not donating blood, but I’m here gathering other people to donate blood.”

Khan said she hopes the blood drives continue on campus to encourage students to take an active role in helping their community.

“I hope that more people get encouraged to donate and more people hear about them,” Khan said. 

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