Dave Ostergren laid with a needle in his arm, casually reading a book while pumping blood from his veins to a medical pouch. Ostergren donated one of the 39 pints of blood at last Friday’s blood drive.
Ostergren, director of Graduate Programs in Environmental Education at Merry Lea, said his reason for giving blood stems from his son’s car wreck on last year’s Groundhog Day.
Though his son didn’t need any blood at the time, he said that being in that situation reminded him of the need to donate blood.
Compared to previous blood drives, this year’s operation in particular is running behind.
“We need to collect 500 to 600 pints (of blood) a day,” said Scott Kincaid, the team supervisor from the American Red Cross. But that doesn’t include the amount of blood the Red Cross missed out on due to the severe weather last week.
Kincaid said that across the entire system, the Red Cross is short some 3000 pints of blood. Because of the weather, donors have been in short supply.
Goshen College’s donation of 39 pints of blood, Kincaid added, was pretty consistent for their operations on campus.
But not everyone that wanted to donate was able to.
Last Friday was the first opportunity for Stephanie Swartzendruber, an English and TESOL double major, to donate blood. She wanted to donate last year, but because of her SST trip to Nicaragua the previous summer–and a fever on the day of the blood drive–she was unable to give.
Unfortunately, Swartzendruber fainted and wasn’t allowed to continue her first pint.
“I’ve always been squeamish with blood,” Swartzendruber said.
Vice President of Academic Affairs Anita Stalter, who accompanied Swartzendruber to the snack table, said that this was her fifth time donating blood.
“I have O positive blood,” Stalter said, “which seems to be in demand.” She added that on an almost weekly basis she is reminded of her blood type and urged to donate.
According to redcrossblood.org, only eight weeks are required in between full blood donations, meaning that an individual can donate six times annually. Information about giving blood and blood drive locations can also be found at the website.
On weekdays, almost a dozen locations might be operating throughout the region. While many of those were out of commission during the earlier part of the week, Red Cross volunteers remain hopeful that donors will continue to give blood.
Friday’s blood drive “started out a little slow,” said Kincaid, “but they always come to the rescue.”