The low hum of a deep blue bus sang throughout the center of Pappas Quad at the Health Sciences Campus as students paused from their day to give a donation---the gift of blood. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) partnered with USC’s Keck School of Medicine to host the blood drive on Oct. 22nd.
Rocio Hernandez, a CHLA Blood Donor Recruiter Representative, said it was the second time CHLA has been on the medical school’s campus. The organization has hosted blood drives at USC’s main campus in the past, as well, Hernandez stated.
Hernandez stressed the importance of the blood drive.
“People should give in general because blood is not manufactured," Hernandez said. "The only way to collect blood is through volunteers like us.”
Courtney Causer, a M.S. Global Medicine student, said she heard about the event and the need for donations. After her class workshop, she decided to attend.
“Blood is a commodity,” Causer stated. “There’s always short supply. It’s always needed. I think people should donate if they are capable to."
Casuser said she felt ready to donate.
“I’m actually feeling really good. I’ve had bad experiences and good experiences so I know what I should be doing," she stated.
The blood drive bus also caught the attention of two first year medical students, Nina Fukuma and Akash Dhawan.
“During the break, we noticed a pretty blue van outside and decided it was a good way to utilize our break by donating blood,” Fukuma said.
Fukuma thought the experience was easier than she anticipated. She said she had always wanted to donate blood, but thought she did not meet the requirements.
Smiling, the medical students said the donation process was an enjoyable experience.
“The technician was hilarious," said Dhawan. “We had a good time just kind of laughing and giving blood.”
Gracia Garcia, a CHLA clinical lab technician, said the donation process usually takes 35 minutes to an hour.
When donors arrived, they were greeted by volunteers at the registration table. Donors grabbed a water bottle, Rice Krispies Treat, and a purple clipboard and began the process.
On the bus, volunteers reviewed the potential donors’ responses from a brief questionnaire. Next, their vitals like blood pressure, temperature and pulse were taken. Once cleared, donors were eligible for donation, Garcia said.
Sitting back in her chair, Causer took a sip from her Hydro Flask and giggled. She said if she had one tip for anyone donating blood in the future, it would be to make sure they’re hydrated.