Mississippi Blood Services (MBS) hosted a blood drive at Mississippi State University from Jan. 11 through Jan. 15. The blood drive was conducted from one of MBS's buses parked in between the Colvard Student Union and the YMCA building, offering students and MSU faculty easy access to donate.
The blood drive experienced a large turnout, enabling MBS to get blood from a multitude of donors in a very prompt manner. Fortunately, MBS was well prepared to accommodate large numbers while still maintaining safety precautions. Donors were required to wear a mask and be checked for fever upon entering the bus. Staff members wore masks as well as other protective gear. MBS was also prepared to offer donors hand sanitizer and masks if needed. The bus itself was able to hold up to 10 donors while complying with social distancing guidelines, and all surfaces were promptly sanitized after each donor.
Lilli-Grace Mitchell, a freshman at MSU majoring in kinesiology, said this was not her first time donating blood. Mitchell expressed her satisfaction with donating through MBS, emphasizing the convenience of her experience.
"It was really quick, and they were good about working around schedules," Mitchell said.
Katherine Berryhill, a sophomore in agricultural education, noted how gracious the staff members were.
"I'm from the state of Alabama, so that's where I've given blood before. The people here are way nicer, especially the lady that I had. She was very accommodating," Berryhill said.
MBS's website urges more people to donate as blood drives have been hindered due to the virus. Those with COVID-19 antibodies are especially encouraged to donate if they have been symptom-free for over 14 days, as antibodies aid in fighting the virus. Their blood can potentially be used to help treat other COVID-19 patients, especially those with severe symptoms.
As for how successful the blood drive has been in terms of donors, Loria Windom, the mobile supervisor at MBS, gave her best estimate.
"Wow, between Monday and yesterday, I want to say we've had about 70 something donors, if not more," Windom said.
Donating blood is a noble thing to do anytime, but due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the need is more prevalent than ever. MSU rose to the occasion, as many students recognized the importance of being a donor.
Berryhill explained she knows firsthand the impact blood transfusions have on patients, especially cancer patients.
"My aunt actually has leukemia, so she had to get platelets when she was sick. Her hospital thankfully had a lot of resources, but smaller hospitals do not really have blood to give people. There is a blood shortage. So that's why I give blood," Berryhill said.
Andrea Beyer, a senior chemical engineering major, has given blood many times previously and shared how gratifying giving blood can be.
"It's really cool when they text you that your blood is going to a hospital for a person who really needs it," Beyer said.
To prepare, donors had to be mindful of their health, as well as their food consumption that day.
"I made sure to eat a lot of good stuff," Beyer said. "I drank a lot of water and Gatorade throughout the day."
Berryhill encouraged students to be mindful of their daily habits to prepare for donating blood.
"To prepare, do daily stuff—washing your hands and making sure to wear your mask in public and stay healthy," Berryhill said.
All donors who were interviewed said they had a positive experience with MBS and expressed they would be more than willing to give blood again.
MBS's mission is to help provide an ample supply of blood, donated by willing volunteers, for those who need it. As MBS's website states, "Receiving blood is not a choice; giving blood is."
Despite Monday's snowy weather, the blood drive continued running, further proving the dedication of Mississippi Blood Services' staff and mission. MBS provides blood for hospitals and other medical facilities all over the state of Mississippi, all while being a non-profit blood service.
MBS posts their schedule and other helpful information on their website. As MBS runs blood drives across various locations, the website lists the locations of the next drive. There are blood drives daily, and there are many opportunities for those wishing to donate to do so. Successful donors receive a shirt and antibody testing. The results of the antibody testing are emailed to donors within 48 hours.
Those who were unable to donate Jan. 11-15 can visit the Mississippi Blood Service's website to find out where and when the next blood drive will be held.