Gov. Mike Pence announced last week Sept. 4-10 was National Blood Donation Week. The community was encouraged to give back to the community in the week leading up to Sept. 11, according to the American Red Cross press release.
The week is in association with an initiative that began with media personality Dr. Daliah Wachs, who is the host of a radio program on iHeartRadio on which she speaks about various medical topics. One of these topics is the understanding of why it’s important to have a strong blood supply.
She established a National Blood Donation Week and asked each state governor to join her by declaring the service week in the state, according to the release.
Rodney Wilson, external communications manager for the Indiana region of the American Red Cross, said the national week was a good way to encourage people to think about ways to give back.
“I think having a declaration from the governor is a good way for people to realize that it is an option in a way that helps hospital patients specifically,” Wilson said. “Overall, blood drives that week we saw very strong numbers, much more so than in August.”
Though the National Blood Donation Week ended Sept. 10, more blood drives continued this week around the area. This Monday, the American Red Cross in Bloomington came to Alpha Phi’s philanthropy week. The Red Cross set up two main donating tables and cubicles to give prospective donors eligibility tests to see whether they were able to donate blood that day.
Stephanie Scott, team supervisor for American Red Cross Bloomington, said blood drives are important for young people to be exposed to in order to create the habit of donating blood throughout their lives.
“I really see a trend that when you start young it becomes something that you’re more invested in, and it becomes important to you,” Scott said. “It becomes a lifestyle.”
Scott, a member of the American Red Cross for the last eight years, said they use a lot of different strategies to get people to donate. One of them is pairing up with other organizations, such as the Beta Tau chapter of Alpha Phi, for events to entice donors.
“It’s important to get other charities and organizations, as many people as possible to the blood drive,” Scott said. “We’ve found a lot more success when there is an event or activity connected to the drive rather than just having the drive somewhere.”
Katie Barufka, a senior at IU, said she donates at least twice a year because it’s easy for everyone to do and important to do what they can.
There are multiple blood drives coming up in the Bloomington area. To find a drive in the area visit redcrossblood.org and search the correct zip code.
“It’s something that is so easy to do, everyone deserves a chance to live a long and healthy life,” Barufka said. “If I could do it every day I would.”