Annual blood drive exceeds expectations

Red Cross visits campus, turnout rivals four-year universities


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Communications major Perla Juarez gets her blood drawn by an American Red Cross assistant in the Recreation Room during the Red Cross Blood Drive on Sept. 23.

By Jose Jimenez, Spotlight Editor

 The annual blood drive was held in collaboration with the American Red Cross on Sept. 23, inside AA-117.

The Recreation Room (AA-117) was filled with gurneys, needles, soothing jazz music from a Red Cross team member’s mobile devices and Contra Costa College  students willing to donate blood.

The Drive was scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but after a two-hour delay due to technical difficulties with their medical equipment, students finally got their chance to give their blood.

Perla Juarez, a communications major in her third semester, said she decided to give blood because it could save a life.

“The very first time I (gave blood) was in high school,” Juarez said. “I was very scared but the American Red Cross people have a way of talking to people and calming us down — plus, it’s for a good cause.”

She admitted to having some experience when giving blood and she said that on a scale of one to 10, the overall pain was a two.

“The pinch might be a seven, but after that it is all OK,” she said.

Juarez said she made an appointment long ago in anticipation for the event, but the Red Cross was also accepting walk-ins from anyone who met its height, weight and medical history qualifications.

Heather Banuelos, a Middle College student, said she was walking by the Recreation Room to pick up her free lunch when she heard Red Cross staff members telling other students that they were accepting walk-ins, but they had to come back later after they finished with their scheduled appointments.

Banuelos decided to wait and said she changed her plans for the entire day because she understands the importance of giving blood.

“It’s easy and I think everyone on campus should do it, and would do it if they knew they could save a life,” she said.

Account Manager and Donor Representative for the American Red Cross in the Northern California Region Hanna Malak said they received at total of 25 units of blood by and plan another visit to CCC very soon.

Malak said the 25 units of blood represents a great turnout for the event on campus given that universities with higher enrollment and headcount, such as UC Berkeley, do 200 units of blood every month.

“Berkeley is obviously a very big campus, but for the 25 people who did donate blood at CCC we are extremely thankful. We couldn’t have asked for anything more given the small space we had to operate in,” Malak said. “We definitely want to come back very soon and hopefully in a bigger venue.”

Malak said individuals who donated blood on Wednesday have to wait 56 days to give blood again.

A short wait, he said, but enough time to set up something bigger on the CCC campus in the near future.

Students who heard from it through “word of mouth” were thankful while others like Maritza Azamar, an English major, was lucky enough to see the Red Cross van parked in front of the AA Building as she was leaving campus.

“I’m doing it out of my free will,” Azamar said. “But the campus should have done more to promote this event because I suffer from social anxiety and couldn’t ask people where this blood drive was taking place.”

Juarez agreed and said she wished CCC made a bigger deal out of this event like they did with the dental cleaning event for which she said she received all types of notifications through her email.

“Maybe CCC should have put something on the Internet or on the school website,” she said.

The Blood Drive was sponsored by CCC’s Office of Student Life.