UCSB American Red Cross Blood Drives Make Strides to Save Lives


Kassandra Gutierrez

Ever wanted to be a superhero for just one day? Your dreams aren’t that far away. Donating just one pint of blood can save up to three lives. Each year 4.5 million Americans are in need of a blood transfusion, and the only way we can fulfill these needs are by donating blood.

For us University of California, Santa Barbara students, we really don’t have to go very far to donate. You can choose to take a trip to downtown Santa Barbara and donate at a local medical center or you can donate through our on-campus group, UCSB American Red Cross. This year the UCSB American Red Cross is hoping to hold a blood drive on May 7 in the Student Resource Building (SRB).

Fourth-year communication and economics double major and president of the UCSB American Red Cross, Connor Kampff, says, “We want more people donating. There are usually only 5 seats available, and donating spots fill up pretty quick. We hope to get a bigger place to hold these blood drives, so we can have more people donating.”

“One of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer sophomore year of college,” said Kampff when asked why donating blood was important to him. “Five of my best friends and I headed to the University of California, Los Angeles medical center and donated to her account.”

Not knowing if their blood would be transferable to their best friend, they still donated in hope of saving a life.

However, some people have their doubts about donating blood. Clara Perez, a first-year English major, was scared to donate blood. “I heard stories about people fainting and I do not like blood so the thought of filling up a bag with my blood was horrifying.”

It took some convincing, but finally Perez was up for the cause. She donated and said it was really uplifting. “I was not getting freaked out because the people were really nice and reassuring, and I knew I was doing good for the community.”

“I feel it’s my responsibility to donate since I am the universal donor and so I can help a lot of people with a little amount of blood,” said first-year biopsychology major Nadia Ratkowski, one of very few universal donors.

There are limitations to donating blood. One has to be in a healthy condition, at least 17 years old, and weigh at least 110 pounds. In addition, one can donate blood only every 56 days. However, if you do not meet these requirements there are still an infinite number of other ways to give back to the community.

Donating blood is said to be fun, exciting, and rewarding, and only takes about a half an hour to an hour.

“We want to be more efficient,” states Kampff in regard to the goals of the organization. “Also to bring more awareness and have people really understand the difference they are making.”

If you do choose to donate, be prepared on the day you do it. Eat a hearty breakfast and have plenty to drink. Bring a form of identification and have a list of any medication that you are currently taking. Finally, bring a smile and a big heart, because an hour of your time is saving lives.