ImpactLife Bloodmobile collects enough blood to save 33 lives and raises awareness for upcoming blood drives.
Donors who took part in the blood drive during the SIUE Experience donated 11 units of blood, which is enough to save 33 lives. Donors included students, faculty and community members. Donors were able to give either whole blood or double red cells.
The Bloodmobile was parked by the quad in Hairpin Drive on Aug. 21, as part of SIUE Service Saturdays. It was open to faculty, students and the community.
Jason Kempen, the community development advocate for ImpactLife, talked about the importance of blood donation, especially for college students.
“Blood donation, in general, helps local hospitals. In fact, ImpactLife serves  hospitals in the St. Louis metro region. So the blood that they donate goes directly into hospitals helping kids with cancer, transfusions, people that are in traumatic accidents. And so the blood they’re donating, they’re impacting people’s lives and their community by donating,” Kempen said.
Kempen also said Labor Day Weekend is traditionally a time of year when the number of blood donations drops, so the need for blood donors is extremely important. Nearly all the blood types, are in critical need, according to the ImpactLife website, including O positive, which is the most common blood type.
ImpactLife services over 120 hospitals in four states, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin, which means the company must have enough blood to ensure medical centers have enough to save lives.
Andrew Winters, a charge phlebotomist with ImpactLife, said that ImpactLife is community-focused. The blood that donors give goes straight to major hospitals around the area, including Anderson Hospital located 15 minutes away from campus.
Winters said first-time donors should know that it is okay to get stuck with a needle and know what the cause is going toward.
All blood donors should be in good health and prepare themselves correctly prior to their blood donation.
“It’s always good to drink plenty of water to make sure they’re hydrated. Make sure that they have eaten a full-sized meal before they come in as well,” Winters said.
Dayevion Meek, a freshman exercise science major from Decatur, Illinois, who was donating for his second time, said, “I couldn’t wait to start and I knew it could help out some people.”
Donating blood can be a daunting task, but Kempen said it doesn’t need to be.
“The staff at ImpactLife do a tremendous job of making all donors very comfortable in going through the process of donation,” Kempen said.
Meek also had some words of encouragement for students who may be hesitant about donating blood.
“It’s not that bad. Just the needle’s kind of scary, but once it’s in, it’s chill,” Meek said.
ImpactLife also has perks to donating. At the moment, you can either choose a quarter-zip pullover or a gift card to various places. Donors are also entered into a drawing for a $500 gift card to a store of their choice.
For students and staff who are wanting to donate, several blood drives are coming up. The bloodmobile will be back from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Sept. 1 and 2 at Hairpin Drive. Students can make an appointment online at bloodcenter.org or call ImpactLife at 800-747-5401. There will also be other blood drives throughout the year through both the Red Cross and ImpactLife.