By Leonard Blanc 

Students and faculty members of Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) turned out in force to donate blood for those in need. Generosity was on display as the Cape Cod community rallied together for a just cause.

On November 5, 4Cs hosted the Cape Cod Healthcare blood drive van from 9 AM until 3 PM, during which time students and faculty could stop by and donate as long as they were determined eligible.

“We host at least one blood drive every year, sponsored by Student Engagement and student clubs and organizations,” said 4Cs director of student engagement Tracy Morin. “This year, it was the Radio Club that assisted in the drive. We had a good turnout…There were 28 presenting donors and we collected 22 units of blood.  We also had 13 new blood donors which was great to see”.

An aversion towards needles and sharp objects is what stops many who would otherwise be happy to contribute to the charitable blood drive. Despite this being a common phobia, it wasn’t a major issue among 4Cs students, many of whom were already experienced donors.

“Some of them were nervous, but we try to relax them.” Said Ruth Grim, a phlebotomist working for Cape Cod healthcare. “A lot of them were actually repeat donors. There’s a lot of them that start donating now in high school, so if they went to high school around here, they’ve probably already donated with us before.”

Blood donations like the ones that Cape Cod Healthcare needs typically go towards two major types of blood transfusions. One is red blood cell transfusion, which most often help patients suffering from an iron deficiency or anemia. The other is plasma transfusion, which provide patients with vital nutrient rich substances they may be lacking in.

“First, the blood will go back to the hospital,” said Grim. “And then what we do is we filter it, hang it, and then after that’s done we put it in a centrifuge to spin and separate the red cells from the plasma. Then, after it’s spun, we put it on what we call the squisher and it just pulls the plasma right onto the top, and then that goes into another bag.”

According to Cape Cod Healthcare’s website (https://www.capecodhealth.org/), one out of every ten people entering into a hospital here on Cape Cod will need some type of blood transfusion. That amounts to Cape Cod Healthcare facilities performing more than 7,500 blood transfusions per year. The average donor giving just one pint of their blood can save up to two lives, so blood drive organizers look forward to these events bringing out as many people as possible.

“Today was great, really excellent. Right from the beginning we had a lot of people, we exceeded what we expected and hoped for,” said Grim.

Photograph of Officer David McGraw by Bruce McDaniel