Homewood Can Lessen Blood Supply Shortfall By Ken Keatley Squeezing blood from a stone. That's almost the challenge Homewood donor chairperson Peggy Jones faces five times a year, during the Red Cross Blood Drive. Although there are typically 5,000 or more students, faculty and staff on campus during any "drive time," only about 150 on average donate blood. "And most of them are students," said Jones, benefits specialist for the Office of Human Resources, who has chaired the drive since 1979. "Faculty and staff members just don't participate as much." On the eve of the first Homewood drive of '95--Tuesday, Feb. 14, 9 am. to 3 p.m., and Wednesday, Feb. 15, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Glass Pavilion of Levering Hall--Jones is hoping that the Hopkins community will have a heart for Valentine's Day and give with gusto. "As someone who has been both a donor and organizer of these drives, it's quite a rewarding feeling to be able to help," said Jones. "I enjoy seeing the donors--especially the students--who are so anxious to give of themselves." Besides free cookies, juice, pizza and the tender loving care of Red Cross staffers and volunteers, donors this week will have the chance to win a sweetheart of a door prize: free boxes of candy. The freebies, along with a new marketing campaign headed by Judy Peregoff, manager of the Office of Faculty, Staff and Retiree Programs, is expected to bolster participation. "Thanks to staff members in Design and Publications who recognize the significance of Red Cross Blood Drives, our 1995 campaign will take on a new look," said Peregoff. "We hope that the teasers and the reminder stickers mailed out earlier this month will encourage faculty and staff members to mark their calendars and to donate as often as possible." Jones noted that five drives are held each academic year, with the high point being 1991-92 when 875 units of blood (175 units per drive) were collected. But the numbers have diminished considerably since then, with the 1993-94 total being just 732 units (146 units per drive), a decrease of 16.4 percent. Meg Paterson, a communications assistant for the Red Cross Blood Services Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region, said blood donation levels often fluctuate, and are typically low during the winter months. "Donations are currently down because of the weather and the flu," said Paterson. "Normally, we like to have a three-day blood supply on hand. But right now, we have less than a one-day supply of A-negative and O-negative blood." Paterson added that the Chesapeake and Potomac Region supplies 90 percent of the blood at 84 hospitals--including Johns Hopkins Hospital--located in southern Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia and Maryland. William Dean, associate director for development and alumni relations for the School of Engineering, has for years given at Hopkins or at local blood donor centers, beginning when he was an undergraduate here in the 1970s. "The experience itself is easy and absolutely painless. I thank God I've never been in a position where I've needed blood, but certainly know people who have," said Dean, who has donated more than five gallons. "It seems like such a tiny little thing to do that can go so far to help people. It's an hour out of your time, every three months or so. I have a hard time justifying not doing it." Members of the Hopkins community have an added reason for participating. The Blood Assurance Plan, which began in 1969, automatically covers any staff or faculty member's need for blood and the needs of their dependents, at no expense to the recipient (except for the cost of processing the blood). Jones would like to thank everyone who has donated in the past, and asks that anyone interested in donating blood on Feb. 14 or Feb. 15 call her at 516-8039 to reserve a donation time. Total time required is about 45 minutes to an hour. Although walk-ins are accepted, reservations reduce the time needed to give.
Go to Gazette Homepage