Apr 24, 2007

American Red Cross requests help in Virginia Tech aftermath

by Natasha Kormanik, Life Reporter
The American Red Cross visited campus April 17 to 19, setting up in DeMoss Hall for students to donate blood. With the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech, the Red Cross extended their three-day visit to four.

The American Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood nationwide, according to www.redcross.org. Almost 4 million people have given blood through the organization to date, and that number is growing.  A part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, it does more than just donate blood — it also provides food, shelter and counseling in times of need.

In addition, the organization “helps people prevent, prepare and respond to emergencies,” according to their mission statement. Already, last year’s reports verified that “a million volunteers and 35,000 employees helped victims of almost 75,000 disasters.” In addition, people were able to learn lifesaving skills, and U.S. service members separated from their families were able to stay in touch.
Regardless of how popular and widespread their programs are, it seems that the Red Cross has run into a rut lately after experiencing a nationwide blood shortage that lasted for several months.  Unfortunately, not many students are aware of this shortage that has been occurring throughout this time.

In addition to the nationwide shortage is the short supply for the victims of Virginia Tech. In response to recent events, a new location site called the Montgomery-Floyd Chapter has been set up in the Virginia Tech community for people to donate blood. This chapter will also continue to help assist families, faculty, students and emergency workers in the wake of the deadly shooting in the Blacksburg area that resulted in 33 dead and more than 20 injured.

Junior Casey Barnes, who has donated blood eight times and is a Red Cross member, said, “More people would help out if they knew of the shortage.”

Although many students on campus seemed upset about the shortage and the fact that they just did not know, students came out to donate blood anyway, and all of them were for different reasons.
Junior Shawn Arnold, a volunteer for the Blood Drive, said that he had seen a few people who admitted to donating for the first time because of current events at Virginia Tech. This just goes to show that, for some, the idea of donating blood to recent victims and others is a more personal way of helping out.

“Whenever tragedy happens, people are more inclined to help out,” said Arnold.

Nevertheless, Campbell County Account Manager Melanie J. Campbell said, “It does not really matter to me why people come out to donate. I am just glad that they are donating.”

Additionally, Barnes explained that the recent victims of Monday’s shooting are most likely in need of Type “O” blood, which is the most valuable. Unlike Type “A” and “B” blood, she said that Type “O” is best to give because it can go to anybody.

In addition to helping with the critical blood needs in Blacksburg, according to the organization’s recent press release, health workers will continue to offer a means of support for students and families to come together and express their emotions as part of the healing process.

Contact Natasha Kormanik at nnkormanik@liberty.edu.
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