LifeStream blood drive returns

Kengkue Her | Banner | Blood drives in the past have always been similar, but this year there are sure to be more safety precautions as a result of the pandemic.

Spiritual Life’s Mobilization office is working with LifeStream to host a blood drive from Oct. 28-30 in the Van Dyne Gym. Adam Botello, LifeStream regional account manager, said it will be adapted to COVID-19 restrictions.

To protect donors, the blood drive will require donors to socially distance, wear face masks and receive a temperature check at the entrance. Screening stations and donor beds will be placed six feet apart, stations will be sanitized between donors and the LifeStream staff will wear personal protective equipment.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic happened, fewer people are going out of their homes to donate blood and we still have patients who need transfusions who have certain illnesses or have been a victim of an accident,” said Nicole Wall, senior nursing major. “The demand for blood will never go away.”

In addition to these precautions, LifeStream will be testing donated blood for COVID-19 antibodies. Donors will receive the results of the test through the donor portal on lstream.org or through the LifeStream app. If a donor tests positive for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, they will be offered the opportunity to donate convalescent plasma.

“A lot of our hospital partners dealing with COVID-19 are asking for convalescent plasma,” Botello said. “By giving plasma with antibodies present to COVID-19 patients who are actively dealing with COVID-19, it is going to help those patients fight the virus.”

In the past, Botello said California Baptist University has been one of its largest blood drives in the area. During the pandemic, however, LifeStream has faced some challenges with receiving blood during drives because schools have mainly virtual classes and activities. Workplaces have also transferred much of their work to online formats.

“We only have about a day and a half supply of blood on hand, and that is really dangerous,” Botello said. “We are looking forward to this blood drive, and I am hoping that it is a big turnout. We need it, especially now more than ever because of COVID-19.”

In prior years, the drive raised funds for students participating in International Service Projects (ISP) through Mobilization, who would receive $20 for each donation to support ISP. However, Mobilization is not sending students on ISP trips in 2021. As a result, the money raised for Mobilization through this drive will fund student scholarships.

“We really want it to be about being a part of the community and helping the community because there is a need for blood,” said Kris Smith, assistant director of Mobilization. “We want our faculty, staff and students to do something that will help the community right now.”

Although there are fewer students present on campus, Smith said she hopes that residential and local students will still participate out of an awareness of the need for blood and an increase in free time due to a lack of campus activities.

“Having done a lot of blood drives at this school, I know the students want to help,” Botello said. “Even though they are not necessarily on campus, I hope that most of the students who want to donate blood and help the community are going to come and donate.”

Botello said donating blood normally takes about 45 minutes. However, if donors would like to shorten the time, they can complete the screening questionnaire found at lstream.org/expresspass earlier in the day before donating blood.

“The hospitals need more blood than ever, and there is a lot of pressure on us as a blood center to keep those hospitals stocked,” Botello said. “I know the Lancer community is strong and that if I ask them they will come. If you are healthy and want to donate blood, come.”

LifeStream is encouraging those who want to donate to make an appointment before donating blood by visiting lstream.org/cbu.

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