Students fight shortage
Liberty donates about 1,200 units of blood at each Red Cross blood drive on campus
Eighty percent of the blood donations given to the Red Cross are collected at mobile blood drives set up at community organizations, companies, high schools, colleges, places of worship and military installations. The remaining 20 percent are collected at fixed Red Cross donor centers, according to the Red Cross website.
Liberty students can earn their Christian Service (CSER) credit by volunteering to help out with the American Red Cross Blood Drive or donating blood.
“Very few students have completed their CSER through the Red Cross,” Director and professor of biblical worldview Lew Weider said. “However, a brand new Red Cross Club is starting on campus, so I expect many more students will earn their CSER through the Red Cross in the future.”
According to Weider, Liberty’s partnership with the Red Cross began when Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr.’s daughter, Jeannie Falwell, helped bring the Red Cross to campus when she served as president of the Liberty University Circle K Club.
Liberty student and nursing major Aleiyah Mollenhauer said she had no idea that she could have completed her CSER with the Red Cross, but if she had, she would have signed up for it.
“I have talked to many different people about donating blood, and I recommend this opportunity, because I know that it could save someone,” Mollenhauer said.
In comparison with other schools, Liberty ranks in the No. 2 spot behind the University of Virginia when it comes to amount of blood given annually in the Appalachian Region, Bill Johnson, American Red Cross account representative, said.
“Liberty gives about 1,200 units of blood annually,” Johnson said.
According to Johnson, The Appalachian Region includes southern West Virginia, southwest Virginia and just into the Farmville, Va. area where Longwood University is located.
When there is a shortage of blood drives, there is a shortage in all blood types, Johnson explained. Since Type O negative is universal, people with this blood type are encouraged to donate.
According to the Red Cross website, the winter months are the most crucial because of severe weather conditions. About 240 Red Cross blood drives were shut down in 23 different states, leaving a dramatic loss in blood. More than 41,000 blood donations are needed each day.
“I really appreciate the gratitude of our donors,” Lynchburg Red Cross Supervisor Tawanda Rosser said.
Phlebotomist Nancy Ashwell, who collects blood samples for the Red Cross in Lynchburg, said she has been working for the Red Cross for seven years and loves recruiting new people to donate blood.
“It is very rewarding at the end of the day, when you know you have saved a life,” Ashwell said.