UCLA blood drive lowers

Chronicle Staff

By David Lim

The annual University of California, Los Angeles Blood Drive allowed 16 year olds to donate their blood for the first time this year.

More than 70 students and teachers showed up from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Chalmers student lounge on Nov. 12 and gave blood for this year’s first school blood drive.

The drive was organized by the student-run Blood Drive Committee, Executive Assistant to the President Ann-Marie Whitman, and the Harvard-Westlake Parents’ Association.

UCLA previously restricted donations to only those 17 and older but its new policy this year allowed 16-year-olds to donate as long as they had a signed parental permission form.

Blood Drive Committee Co-Chair Austin Lewis ’11 said there was a stronger showing at this year’s drive blood drive than last years drive due to the more lenient requirements.

The process of giving blood took about one period for most donors. After filling out a basic information form, all potential donors underwent a private screening that involved a quick blood test for iron levels and a comprehensive questionnaire.

Blood donors were “deferred” if the questionnaire revealed that the potential donor traveled internationally to certain regions, was currently taking medications, had a piercing within the last six months or based on their sexual history.

The blood donation itself took about 15 minutes for the standard pint of blood to be collected.

Donors usually stayed for another 15 minutes after their donation to recover or in the case of an adverse reaction.

The athletic department barred all in-season student athletes from donating blood, since most blood drives do not allow donations after heavy physical activity for at least 24 hours.

“Each pint saves three lives,” said Whitman, who has helped run the two annual on-campus blood drives for 12 years. “So if you think about it, we had 72 successful donors, multiply that, and that’s over 200 people touched by our service of donating blood and I think that’s a pretty strong statement.”