Home Campus Directory | A-Z Index

Blood Drive nets a record 50 units; Best result in campus history for spring

The red blood cells were flowing freely in the first 10 minutes after the 9 am opening bell.
4/6/2011 —



Thanks to the unselfishness of the campus and community, Penn State New Kensington donated a record 50 units of blood during the semiannual blood drive on April 6.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends showed that the blue and white of Penn State could bleed red for the community. The donations were the highest ever for the spring drive, and helped to increase the blood supply in the local community in the Alle-Kiski valley. The fall 2010 drive netted 54 units, second best in campus history.

"The students at Penn State New Kensington are a pleasure to work during the blood drives," said Debra Kaminski, a medical technologist for the Alle-Kiski Medical Center . "They have that community spirit and the number of donors seems to increase each year."

AKMC staff reported that not only did the red cell units increase their inventory, but that they were able to make platelets and fresh frozen plasma so several patients at AKMC could benefit from the one donation.

For the past two years, donors could choose between the whole blood or apheresis methods. Both methods are safe and both draw approximately a pint of fluid from the donors.

The whole blood method is the typical method where the blood is drawn manually, collected in a pint bag, and stored unprocessed. It is later separated into red blood cells and plasma.

The apheresis method draws blood from the donor, separates it using a centrifuge or a filter, stores the desired part, and returns the rest to the donor. This process is done with a machine specifically designed for this purpose.

Since 2006, the campus community and alumni have donated nearly 600 units of blood to AKMC for use in the local area. The blood drive was made possible through the efforts of donors, canteen volunteers and Elaine Zarichnak, the campus nurse.

The next campus blood drive is in October. Donors are eligible again in 56 days after giving, so the campus community doesn't have to wait until the spring drive to give blood. For information, contact Elaine Zarichnak at emz3@psu.edu or 724-334-6066.

Artwork by campus students makes an calming backdrop to donating.

Preparation includes swabbing down the arm, and it is also an enjoyble
experience for donors.

Email this story to a friend Facebook Twitter