WC Gives Back with Blood

By Sabrina Carroll

Elm Staff Writer

“The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood,” is one slogan of the American Red Cross Association and a message that rang true at Washington College’s blood drive on Oct. 31.

On Halloween, the Service Council set up the blood drive in the Egg in conjunction with the Blood Bank of Delmarva. The Blood Bank of Delmarva, established in 1954, is located in Dover, Newark, and Wilmington, Del., as well as Salisbury.

Over one million people have benefited from The Blood Bank of Delmarva’s mission in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia’s Eastern Shore with over 158 members in the organization.

Last year, 11 colleges participated in blood drives for the Delmarva Blood Bank and collected nearly 80 thousand donations. WC was one of these colleges and, according to junior Caitlin Byrnes, made more of an impact on the larger community than students may realize.

“It was important for students to contribute to the blood drive because there is always a shortage and need for blood donors,” said Byrnes.

Byrnes and senior Josh Rogers were among many of the Service Council members who helped organize and run the event. Rogers is the president of the club. He said, “Any blood bank you ask will say that there is always a need for blood donors, for there is just so much demand on a daily basis, and these organizations continuously need to restock their supply.”

As WC is over an hour away from the nearest Delmarva Blood Bank, the annual blood drive provides students with an opportunity to give blood without ever leaving campus. “The blood drive was an opportunity for the Washington College community to interact with other organizations out- side of campus,” said Rogers. “Students who have donated previously to the Red Cross or other similar organizations may not be able to travel to areas outside of campus to donate again, so to have the Blood Bank of Delmarva come onto campus was a great opportunity for these students to donate and to raise awareness for the cause.”

Although the Blood Drive helped those in need of blood, it was also
equally rewarding for those participating. Byrnes said, “The blood drive…
gave students the opportunity to save lives of people in the local community. Especially here at WC, where we are…in the middle of nowhere, it makes it easier for students when events, such as the Delmarva Bank Blood Drive, are able to come to us.”

Planning this event that lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Halloween took many weeks of planning and a considerable amount of hard work. “The most difficult part was probably finding donors who are eligible to donate,” said Byrnes.

She cited recently tattooed or pierced people, as well as athletes who had practice or a game within 24 hours of the blood drive were ineligible. Rogers said another possible hindrance to being able to give blood was travel. “So many WC students have been abroad within the last year, and although that might not have disqualified them from donating, it was a case-to-case basis that they had to discuss with the higher-up,” he said.

The connection between Chestertown and the WC community has been shown through many events throughout the year already, and the blood drive was a prominent symbol of that connection.

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