I have been donating blood since I was 16 years old and thoroughly enjoy saving someone’s life. I am part of student life at Mercy College and they work closely with the New York Blood Center to host drives at the school.
So, when my supervisor asked me if I wanted to host the blood drive in Feb., you bet I was extremely excited and ready to jump on board. I was even more happy when I found out that I could get an opportunity to win a scholarship.
I had a meeting with my supervisor, my colleague who use to host the blood drive, and a lady from the New York Blood Center. They talked me through the process and explained to me what needed to get done leading up to the drive.
I was given a bunch of materials to work with including flyers, banners, pens, highlighters, arrows, volunteer shirts, stickers with the date, place and time, sign up sheets, information pamphlets, and lots of papers filled with facts and answers to questions that people may have. It seemed overwhelming because I was bombarded with so many materials and tasks but, I was honored to have been chosen to host a wonderful event that I didn’t mind having to deal with the responsibility.
The hardest part of hosting a blood drive was getting people to sign up. I had a table put out near the lecture hall everyday trying to get people to donate. I had to have 50 or more donors to sign up in order to get the $500 in scholarship money so, the challenge was on. I wouldn’t get more if I got more donors, $500 was the limit regardless of how many people signed up. I couldn’t donate because I had already donated blood before I was asked to host the drive or else I could have been the first to sign myself up.
Everyday I would get three or four people to sign up. I was beginning to feel disappointed that I couldn’t get as many people to donate as I wanted to. My supervisor who was helping me throughout the blood drive always made me feel better. She would say that everyday is a step closer to my goal. So I asked everyone, and I mean everyone, in the school if they can donate blood. I asked my classmates, my coworkers ,and even my family. I went around classrooms putting the information on the whiteboards.
I knocked on everyone’s dorm room asking if they could donate. One of the resident life officials told me I can’t do that because it’s a form of advertising and it’s against school policies. But at least I tried to get people to sign up. I called people who had previously donated who may or may not have graduated. That’s how desperate I was to find people to fill out my sign up sheet.
Many of those who didn’t sign up said that they had an illness that prevented them from donating. Some said that had recently gotten a tattoo which was a bummer because if they had waited a year, I could have gotten more people. Others said that they had just traveled out of the country and are not allowed to donate for at least a month or so. Most of them were scared of needles which made me annoyed because if you truly want to help save lives, than you would get over your fears. A few didn’t have class that day so had no use in coming to school. It was frustrating to hear all these excuses whether it was valid or not.
Because the blood drive was on a Wed., I had to get permission from my professors to excuse myself from their classes. They were okay with it and let me miss class. Although I didn’t have to be in the drive the whole day, I wanted to be because it was my first time hosting a blood drive and I wanted to be present at all times.
Hard work pays off, in the end I got more than 100 people to sign up but the real question was if they were actually going to show up to the drive. The day of the blood drive was hectic. It was a very hot and sunny day and another volunteer and I had to go around campus hanging balloons and making sure there were arrows and flyers in the right spots.
I only had one volunteer in school helping me and a few of my work colleagues. In the beginning there wasn’t a lot of people but, as the day progressed, more and more started to show up. No one fainted or had a seizure which was incredible because I’ve seen it happen before. It all went as smooth and as calmly as I hoped it would be. I waited patiently after a few days to get a email saying how many people donated and if I got the scholarship.
When I got the email saying I got the $500 scholarship, I was filled with happiness. I had achieved a goal that would pay off. Not only did I host an excellent drive but, I also know that the blood is given to someone who truly needs it therefore I helped saves hundreds of life by just hosting a blood drive.
I have yet to receive my check in the mail but I am happy regardless. With or without the scholarship, I was still able to help people in need of blood. It’s a great feeling knowing that everyone can come together to help strangers. I look forward to hosting another drive in April, hopefully more people donate this time around and help save more lives. This time I am prepared and wise on how to get people to donate and what to do during the drive. This time I am not donating blood until my blood drive.