Blood drive called for heros

Spirit of volunteerism thrives on campus


by Karren Mitchell and
Gabriel Robles Features Editor

Last week, College of the Desert (COD) put out the call for heroes for the blood drive.  The theme was “step into the shoes of a hero.” When we think of heroes, we think of soldiers, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, doctors and nurses, the first responders who charge forward while the rest of us run the other direction.

There is a hero lurking inside us all.  A hero saves lives and one pint of donated blood can save three.

“I can’t understand why our blood supplies are running low,” said student volunteer in charge of the blood drive, Tomasito Napalan.  “Some people think you can get diseases from giving blood, but it just isn’t true.”

Not true indeed,  as all of the tools and items used in the donation process are sterile and the nurses tending to donors are highly trained professionals that make donors feel comfortable through every step of the process.

Napalan has volunteered his time to the blood drives for the past three years.  He comes up with the themes and gets people to contribute items as incentives for donors.  This job is very personal for Tomasito who has received blood transfusions himself.

“I was anemic. I had no energy. I wasn’t really living,” he said.  But after a transfusion, “I wanted to do cartwheels! It was just so amazing!”

When Napalan had the opportunity to help with the blood drives, he jumped at the chance to help others the way he had been helped.

Each year he has managed to increase the pints of donated blood, starting with 41 pints the first year he volunteered and reaching 59 pints last year. He does this using incentives like iPods and designer handbags which are raffled off to those donating blood.

Napalan said the girl who won the designer handbag last year “was ecstatic. She had never won anything before.”  The bag was designed by Timmy Woods of Beverly Hills and was worth over $500. “I’d love to have someone from ‘True Blood’ come to help us out.  That’s a dream of mine.” said Napalan.  He suggested a theme, “True Blood Donors Give Effortlessly.”

The blood drive this semester closed out with just under 50 pints donated from students on campus. They did not break last semesters record, but with 2000 less students this semester, and a slow day on campus, it was still a great turnout. Napalan said, “campus seems dead today theres hardly anybody walking around.” Although it was a realitively slow day, the Communitty Blood Bank was still able to reach their goal of at least 40 pints.

“If people just knew the impact blood donors have, maybe more people would be willing to contribute,” said Napalan. He also added that most people do not understand this until someone close to them needs a transfusion or they need it themself.

With a couple thousand less students on campus and under 5% of them actually attempting to donate blood,  this event can be ruled as a successful day at COD. It has been calculated that a person needs a unit of blood every three seconds, and just a teaspoon is all it takes to save an infants life. That alone is enough to consider a blood donor a hero.

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