Students donate blood for West victims

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    Hundreds of students waited Monday for their turn to donate blood to the victims of the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion.

    The blood drive, hosted by the TCU Student Nurses Association and Carter BloodCare, was different because it sent blood to a specific place rather than a blood bank.

    "It's really great because normally when you donate blood you just send it to a blood bank, but [SNA] is really fortunate to know that this blood is actually going to go somewhere and make a difference," Claire Luethy, a member of SNA, said.

    SNA contacted Carter BloodCare to collaborate for its annual community service project. Luethy, a junior nursing major, said the timing was "just right" for a blood drive because it would make a difference in the community.

    Not only would it make a difference in the community, but it would also support one nursing student who grew up in West, Amy Linzmeier, community service chair for SNA, said.

    "We decided not only that West, Texas needed us, but also our fellow nursing student who was affected by this," Linzmeier, a junior nursing major, said. "We decided to put our hearts and souls into helping because that's what Texas Christian is all about."

    Professionals from Carter BloodCare handled the blood while members of SNA signed students up and checked on students after donating.

    "We were just giving them snacks and water, making sure they stay healthy," Luethy said.

    Kyle Cotten, a junior biology major, said giving blood was important to him.

    "It's a really tangible way to help out, and the tragedy in West, it hit our community hard and was so close to home, so that's why I wanted to give," he said.

    Luethy said donating blood involved an information gathering session with a professional to learn about recent travels or health precautions because "not everybody can donate."

    "A lot of cases, people traveled somewhere, a foreign country over spring break, and sometimes they are not able to donate because of that," Luethy said. "We try to take as many people as we can."

    Cotten was one of the people that couldn't donate because of recent travels. 

    "I realized I couldn't give because I traveled to Guatemala a month ago," Cotten said. "Certain parts are okay, but not the rural city I went to because it is a malaria risk. I have to wait 11 more months to donate."

    On the other hand, Sarah Breuner, a first-year journalism major, was able to donate. 

    "I had planned to donate anyways because I hadn't donated in a few months, but when I heard that the blood was going to the victims of the West explosion, I really felt the importance of each donation," she said. "I'm not able to go to West to volunteer, so I was happy to do something small to help the community."

    Luethy said being a part of the event was important to her personally and professionally.

    "West is our neighbor," she said. "I got to West for the Czech Stop all the time with my friends to get kolaches, and so it'll be great being able to see the difference and hopefully save people's lives, and that's what nursing is all about."

    The event, which took place from 1 to 6 p.m. in the Brown-Lupton University Union Auditorium, exceeded goals as 124 overall bags of blood were sent to the West victims, Luethy said.

    "We ended up having to turn people away around 4:30 p.m. because we had too many people wanting to donate," she said.