“…To give and not count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds…” these are the words given to us from St. Ignatius in his prayer for generosity. This prayer embodies everything that Dallas Jesuit and other Jesuit schools across the nation strive for, characteristics like brotherhood, service before self, commitment, and integrity.
One specific characteristic that Dallas Jesuit emphasized on February 5th 2015, was community service through the Carter Blood Care drive. Twice a year Jesuit hosts a blood drive, either through Carter Blood Care in the winter and spring or the American Red Cross during the fall so that students, faculty and Jesuit families may donate blood in hopes of saving 300-360 lives. Along with senior Wednesday service sites, regular medicine drives, the glasses drive, and the detergent drive, the blood drive appears to be one more example in which Jesuit students give back to the community at large.
Speaking with Mr. Anthony Mattacchione, director of the community service department, a shared title with Mr. Richard Perry, he explained to me that he has been giving blood “since I was old enough to do it. I think it’s great, and I feel good about myself. Having had family friends in accidents and hospitals, I can see where the supply and need is for fluid. You never know when you might need it. You know, blood is something that we make, not synthetically…it is life giving which makes it that much more special.” Such a vital substance required for life, blood is quickly taken for granted by those in good health.
Even more interesting are some of the facts about the supply and demand for donated blood. According the American Red Cross’ website (http://www.redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/blood-facts-and-statistics), “Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day. The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs. Sickle cell disease affects more than 70,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives. A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.The number of blood donations collected in the U.S. in a year is approximately 15.7 million. The number of blood donors in the U.S. in a year is approximately 9.2 million. Although an estimated 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, less than 10% actually do each year.Blood cannot be manufactured – it can only come from generous donors.” Hopefully, such shocking statistics like these will raise more awareness and promote blood donations for organizations like the American Red Cross and Carter Blood Care.
Selflessly, many Jesuit students stepped up to the challenge and donated on Thursday. One of these students was senior Jack Dossett, who told me that, “I give blood because three years ago I ruptured my spleen while vacationing in Costa Rica. I lost half of my blood, and a blood transfusion saved my life. After going through such a traumatic experience, I feel it is my duty to save somebody else’s life. That’s why I give blood.” Another student, Junior Garrett Aldridge decided to give blood because “I love the idea of anonymously saving lives. You get a great satisfaction in knowing that you directly help someone.” Even though Jesuit can only participate in this event for one day twice a year, it is amazing how dedicated students are in hopes of promoting such a beneficial cause to society. As an additional bonus, Mr. Mattacchione said that if you recommended four people to donate blood and they participated you received up to a maximum of four service credits, even more of an incentive to give.
Hospitals are constantly in need of blood and blood donors have a constant supply of blood that can be tapped into once every six weeks. As Garrett said, “Take an hour out of your life to potentially save three lives.”