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Annual blood drive brings highest turnout yet

This year’s annual blood drive garnered the highest turnout yet at an American Red Cross blood drive at Mills in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting and hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

The blood drive took place on Oct. 19 in the Student Union. It was organized by Administrative Assistant of Public Safety Courtney Anderson and Events Coordinator Mallory Shaw, and put on by the American Red Cross.

Mills has a Red Cross blood drive every year, but this year’s attendance was higher than anticipated.

“We exceeded our goal,” Courtney Anderson said. “This is the highest turnout from all of our blood drives, and as of 2:30 p.m. there’s an hour wait to donate.”

Shaw was happy to see the large turnout and credited part of it to off-campus promoting in the community.

“Last year we didn’t have a lot of folks. I’m really happy to see all of the students and staff this year,” Shaw said. “Courtney and my crew promoted the blood drive off-campus, so I hope that we get some off-campus folks too.”

Maria Fischel, from Housing Management and Dining Services, believes that more events at Mills should incorporate the outside community.

“I think events like this help to connect the college to the community and the community to the college,” Fischel said.

Both Shaw and Fischel were there to give blood with other staff, faculty and students.

“This is my first time,” Shaw said. “So I figured better late than never.”

Fischel had already given blood in the past and was here in response to the recent disasters.

“Puerto Rico was more so on my mind, but there are a lot of reasons to give blood right now,” Fischel said.

A lot of people donated blood or volunteered at the drive as a general reaction to the disasters, but some were compelled by more individual reasons.

“I have family from hurricane regions,” Courtney Anderson said. “So it’s very personal for me.”

Although a number of people donating blood at the blood drive were prompted to do so by the recent disasters, but their blood might not end up helping these specific disaster areas.

“We send this blood to the local hospitals,” said Janaye Pope, blood drive coordinator from the American Red Cross. “But when a disaster area needs it, we’ll ship it to them as well.”

Many people want to give what they can to help in times of crisis, but don’t have the financial means to do so. Sunshine Anderson (who uses they/them pronouns) found that donating blood was a way they can help those in need.

“I don’t really have money to give,” Sunshine Anderson said. “But I do have blood to give.”

Sophia Preach couldn’t give blood due to recently getting a tattoo so she volunteered to work at the blood drive instead.

“There’s a lot going on at this time and it’s difficult to figure out how to help so it’s important to do any little thing you can,” Preach said. “I can’t give financial contributions; I can only give my time.”

Courtney Anderson was impressed with how many Mills students got involved with this year’s blood drive.

“Our students work really hard,” Courtney Anderson said. “They gave maybe an hour of their day to help someone they may never meet.”