The Fort Hays State University Blood Drive is taking place today and tomorrow. The American Red Cross selected FHSU as the Central Plains Region Blood Services “University of the Year”. Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi) is a group that is heavily involved in donor recruitment for the on-campus blood drives. Sophomore Tandra Johnson, the vice president of administration for AKPsi, is also the blood drive coordinator. Johnson told Hays Post that everyone in the organization enjoys putting these drives on each year.
“For me it’s just something that I enjoy doing. I know Alpha Kappa Psi has a lot of members [with] family members that get blood on a regular basis.”
This year, Johnson and AKPsi were able to get sponsorship to bring t-shirts back for the first time in a number of years. She added that she was approached by a number of people asking for shirts to be handed out again, so they made sure to make that happen for this blood drive.
Other steps AKPsi takes to make each blood drive successful include:
- Securing sponsorship for a raffle drawing (this year donors can enter for a chance to win a free TV)
- Going door to door in on-campus residence halls asking for appointments
- Putting up posters and flyers on campus and the community
- Coordinating with the Hays Donation Center
Cathy Younger, ARC donor recruitment representative, said that FHSU averages around 250 pints for the whole blood drive with anywhere from 130 to 150 appointments each day (with some people finding they aren’t eligible to donate). Both Younger and Johnson added that walk-ins are always welcome as well at this and any blood drive.
On top of the normal blood donation, the FHSU drive has an Alyx machine. According to apheresis technician Jime Avelar, the machine collects red blood cells, which are in the greatest demand.
“We draw the whole blood; we send that blood down into a centrifuge. We spin that blood down & separate all the different components: red blood cells in one bag, plasma and platelets in another. After that draw cycle is complete, we return your plasma and platelets back to you along with a little normal saline.”
Avelar goes on to explain that the process continues until two units of red blood cells are collected. Because this donation uses a smaller needle and fluid is replaced back into the body, there is a reduced risk of feeling ill after donating. The donation at the Alyx machine takes about 20-25 minutes once the background / health assessment is completed.
Avelar said the following are requirements to be able to donate using Alyx:
- Blood types: O+, O-, A- or B-
- Hemoglobin level > 13.3
- Be at least 5’1” tall
- Weigh at least 150 pounds
- Be at least 5’5” tall
- Weigh at least 175 pounds
The FHSU Blood Drive continues tomorrow from 9 am – 3 pm in the Memorial Union Ballroom. Walk-ins are welcome.