The average person may not be aware that every day there are people who are in need of blood transfusions — more than 44,000 according to the American Red Cross.
Eligible blood donors, less than 38 percent of the U.S. population, are encouraged to donate frequently, especially those with Type O blood.
In the spirit of regular blood donation, the third annual Keep the Drive Alive: The Kevin Coffey Memorial Blood Drive was held on Nov. 21, to honor Coffey, a Temple student who died in a bus accident in September 2010.
Coffey, a regular blood donor, has been the inspiration for annual blood drives on Main Campus and in his hometown of Manhattan, Kan.
This year the blood drive displayed a good turnout of donors in the Student Center Underground. Throughout the venue donors could be seen waiting their turn, getting mini physicals and lying down on tables getting blood drawn. Donors were given free travel mugs.
Keep the Drive Alive was coordinated by Coffey’s closest friends: Amanda Folk, Christine Boegemann, Jake Adams and Brooks Rudy. Due to Coffey’s rare blood type, his generosity enabled him to donate whenever he was eligible to do so. Coffey inspired many of his friends to be regular blood donors as well.
“The importance of donating [blood], besides the fact of natural disasters, is because there are patients all over who are suffering from thin blood diseases. The operations that they have might call for blood transfusions in order to help fight their disease,” said Adrienne Gaugler, a senior film and media arts major.
Gaugler said it was her third time donating blood and her motivation to do so was inspired by the memory of Coffey.
Gaugler added Coffey’s kindness, humor and extraordinary knowledge of the world made him an exceptional international business student in the honors program.
“Kevin was an inspiration to a lot of people,” Gaugler said. “He was smart. He traveled the world and he was just an overall inspiring kid.”
Folk, a senior kinesiology major and one of the coordinators of Keep the Drive Alive, said her first time donating was through the memorial blood drive held for Coffey two years ago.
“I’m still nervous, but I’m still donating,” Folk said.
Folk added that the importance of donating blood throughout life and not just when disasters strike is an important part of making sure hospitals are always in supply of blood.
“People need blood every single day of every single year so it’s super important to give,” Folk said.
Since Folk will be graduating soon, she said she will be unable to actively coordinate Keep the Drive Alive like she has in the past.
“All of his really close friends are still here,” Folk said. “Next year, it’ll be a little bit more difficult so my organization and one of the fraternities at Temple have decided to join together to try and carry on the tradition of the blood drive for the next couple of years.”
Gaugler said the process of donating blood is a very meticulous one. Donors have to be cognizant of what kind of physical activities they have engaged in during the past year in order to be even considered to donate blood.
“There are a lot of restrictions when it comes to donating blood,” Gaugler said. “The packet distributed to potential donors lists certain countries that if visited during a certain time period [prevent] you [from doating blood] and there are restrictions about piercings and tattoos [attained] within the past six months.”
Sick and anemic people are not allowed to donate, Gaugler said. Usually, a blood sample is taken to see whether or not the donor is anemic. There are certain weight and height limitations for donors in high school and college.
Gaugler said that the questions asked include sexual history as well, because of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and AIDS.
This year Keep the Drive Alive filled up all the scheduled time slots for blood donations and took walk-ins.
Students interested in donating blood can check the full guidelines at Redcrossblood.org.
Diana David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.