The Grambling State University, Alpha Tau chapter of Phi Beta Lambda, held its winter blood drive recently. The Lambdas’ purpose in sponsoring LifeShare Blood Centers of Monroe was sickle cell anemia awareness, a leading disease in the African American community. “There is a low-rate of African American blood donations being done and this causes problems,” said Jalissa Amos, an accounting student from Kansas City, Mo.
African Americans have different traits than Caucasians and it’s important to donate for this reason. If there isn’t the right type of blood that can be used, then the next best thing would be to give blood from another race or trait.
The most common misconception is that you have to be a certain blood. While the most common blood types are O negative and O positive, all individuals who have the heart to donate are asked to do just that.
Lifeshares Centers are located in 12 parishes in Louisiana and in five counties of Arkansas.
“Locally, the purpose of Lifeshare is to prepare quality blood and products, which can only be done through blood donations,” said Lauri Dita, a LifeShare recruiter from Monroe.
“It’s important to donate. Think about it you are saving someone’s life,” said Kendrick Smith, a theatre arts sophomore from Lake Providence.
Individuals can begin donating with written consent at the age of 16.
Each month over 14,000 caring people donate blood with LifeShare Centers to assure an adequate supply for patients in area hospitals. Every day patients need 470 units of blood components.
Last year, more than 178,000 units of blood and blood components came from donors for transfusions that were needed and an estimation of more than 165,000 donors. Major reasons that people need blood include: car accidents, burns, transplants, and cancer, along with heart and blood vessel disease.
Lifeshare personnel advises that if you have small veins, you can pump them up by drinking water and eating a good meal. The process of donating goes as follows: a physical including monitoring your heart rate and around 60 questions geared toward potential donors’ lifestyles.
Once tested individuals can be notified of their status with infectious diseases including HIV and Hepatitis A, B and C.
The goal of LifeShare at GSU was to retrieve blood from at least 40 people. At the end of the day they had a donation of around 35 to 36 individuals.
“We are really proud of GSU supporting us, on average 40 units twice a year, which in turn could help 250 patients. Lifeshare typically comes to GSU in October and the month of February. Various groups sponsor us each time, such as the Gamma Gamma chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.,” Dita said.