Students and community members donate blood

Ferris Student Nurses Association and Student American Dental Hygiene Association host blood drive to help Big Rapids community

There are several Versiti blood drives each year held in FLITE, most of which are organized by students within the College of Health Professions.

Donors were encouraged to check out Versiti’s website for more information on donating blood and how it helps the community. The most recent blood drive was heavily advertised around campus with signs and tables hosted by the Ferris Student Nurses Association and Student American Dental Hygiene Association. In order to ensure that the donations went smoothly, a sign-up system was enabled for some time before the event and it allowed the event’s organizer, Ferris nursing senior Kaylee Riffey, to see how many people were going to come to donate their blood to Versiti.

It is Riffey’s final semester at Ferris and while she cannot donate blood because of her health, she would love to organize an event like this one again, and for good reason. Her efforts brought in large numbers of people, to the point that they could no longer accept walk-ins.

“We had a goal of 37 appointments and we are up to 60 appointments now,” said Riffey.

In order to make volunteers and donors feel more comfortable, Riffey set up a table with bottled water, a must when donating blood, and small snacks to help restore energy on the way back to class. There were also three unique movies set to play for the drive’s duration: Miss Virginia, Fat: A Documentary, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

While the movies and treats were a plus, some people came simply because they wanted to help people, like Ferris pre-nursing freshman Mackenzie Dykstra, who has donated blood several times in the past and in her hometown of Greenville.

Ferris pre-optometry junior Amanda Eslinger, who has donated blood four times during her enrollment at Ferris, agreed, “I donate blood because it takes thirty minutes out of my day and I know the greater effect it will have on someone who needs it.”

Many of the people there to donate their blood also volunteer in other locations, Dykstra and Eslinger included, and some people that either could not or have not donated blood volunteered to help out with the organization of the drive, like Ferris nursing senior Taylor Bennett. Bennett helped out in her high school blood drives, which were also through Versiti, and she remarked on how high the attendance always seemed to be.

“I think people come to blood drives because it’s an easier way to help out your community,” Bennett said. “Everyone has someone in their lives who has had some kind of blood donation and they want to donate and give back.”

There is sure to be another blood drive in the future semesters, and students are encouraged to attend them. It may be a difficult thing for people to do, but sometimes that may be the reason to attempt it, like Ferris nursing senior Holly Wood, who, as a freshman, donated blood for the first time because she wanted to branch out and try things that made her uncomfortable. All the way into her senior year she is still donating, which, hopefully, will give confidence to everyone on the fence.