By Jenna Pierson
Maryland Hillel hosted its biannual blood drive in the Multi-Purpose room at the Rosenbloom Center Friday afternoon.
From 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 25 members of the Hillel community were able to donate blood through the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region American Red Cross.
Many Jewish Terps identify strongly with the concept of tzedakah, which is the practice of charitable giving and a mitzvah that is highly regarded. This is embodied through helping those in need, including the act of giving blood and plasma donations.
“This is our third time back here at Hillel,” said Michael Godwin, the supervisor for the blood drive. “We also regularly visit other places on campus like Stamp and the business school.”
The Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region American Red Cross is part of the biomedical section of the non-profit organization, which collects blood products to distribute to hospitals and infusion centers.
The biomedical section collects allogeneic units, which are whole units of blood that are taken back to the lab and separated into platelets, red cells and plasma as needed.
“The blood can be sent to burn wards, children’s hospitals and blood banks,” Godwin said. “We have a blood drive every single day in the Potomac area, even including the occasional Sunday.”
The biomedical section of the American Red Cross processes more than 40% of the nation’s blood supply and distributes to nearly 3,000 banks and hospitals nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“This is my second or third time giving with Hillel,” said Tzvi Glazer, a graduate student studying sociology who volunteered to help the blood drive and donate. “I have people in my family who have received blood in the past, so it is kind of a pay it forward idea and it is little cost to yourself and a huge benefit for somebody else… to save a life is one of the best things you can do and a huge mitzvah.”
Donating blood and bone marrow has not been linked to any negative health effects and both entities are highly regenerative. According to the American Red Cross website, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds.
“The Red Cross has been extremely accommodating and nice throughout the process,” said David Lee, a sophomore neurobiology major who has donated blood twice. “I think everybody should give, and there really isn’t a good reason not to if you are able.”