Callie Liu/Thresher

By Jack Lee 9/14/23 10:44 PM

Middle A National blood shortage Due to the ongoing climate emergency, Rice Emergency Medical Services partnered with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to host a blood drive on September 12 in the new O’Connor Engineering and Science Building.

The Rice blood drive will help address a pressing blood shortage at Houston area hospitals, said Kristina Gligorova, donor recruitment account manager at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.

“For the Gulf Coast, our region, we need 1,000 (pints) every day, just … to supply 170 hospitals,” Gligorova said. “The demand from hospitals is increasing every year. We need more and more blood. But since the emergence of the Corona virus, the number of people donating has decreased, so we are trying to meet this demand to make sure that our patients always get the blood they need.

Gligorova said that the blood donation campaign aims to provide a large amount of blood.

“We have registered 180 students, so we hope to get more than 100 (pints) of blood,” Gligorova said. “It’s a big blood drive for sure.”

According to Gligorova, donors must meet a set of criteria, including being 16 or older, with parental consent for minors, and weighing more than 110 pounds for those over 19. There are more guidelines for certain conditions, such as recent travel or antibiotic use.

The event was attended by professionals from Gulf Coast Blood Center and students at REMS. REMS member Eduardo Ruiz said he volunteered for the event to give back to the community.

“I like to help volunteer at the blood drive because I know it is very necessary in the medical field to help others with any treatment needed,” said Ruiz, a Jones College student.

Among the donors, Emeline Gonick, a biochemist, said she was inspired to donate through her experience working in hospitals.

“I’ve (interned) in hospitals a few times, and one of the biggest issues we’ve had is there’s been a lot of shortage issues, especially during the pandemic,” said Gonick, a sophomore at Jones. “It was really frustrating because it’s one of the things where a lot of these people could get treatment, they could get care if we had (blood)… I thought I’d like to contribute where I can, so if it meant donating blood, I’ll do it.”

Laura Kabiri, assistant professor of sports medicine, said she has donated blood frequently in her life.

“I think it’s a great way to share what you have,” Kabiri said. “It’s completely safe and it’s a great way to save lives.”

On the other hand, Ryan Matana said this is his first time donating.

“I’ve never done that before,” said Matana, a freshman at Will Rice College. “I think it’s a good thing to give back to the community.”

Olivia Gonzalez, a freshman at Lovett College, said she was donating in part to challenge her fear of blood.

“Actually, I have a pretty big fear of blood, if I’m being completely honest,” Gonzalez said. “I wanted to try it and see my reaction to it, chase my fear and help people in the process.”

Hannah Frampton, a student at Sid Richardson College, said the reason she went out to donate was because of her preferred blood type.

“I have a couple of REMS friends, so they were like, ‘Do you want to donate? “I have type O positive blood, so I’m available to donate a little more than other people,” Frampton said.

Gligorova said that concern for those close to her was her motivation to participate in blood donation.

“At the end of the day, you never know if you’re going to need it, or if a family member you love might need it,” Gligorova said. “You always want to make sure it’s there if someone needs it, because if someone has an accident or gets sick and there’s no blood for them, it’s going to be really bad.”

The strong showing at the blood drive exemplifies the Rice community, said Lisa Basgall, REMS director.

“Each donation can save the lives of up to three people,” Basgall said. “Having donors ranging from first-year students to postdoctoral students and staff from many departments and faculty shows Rice at its best.”

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