Red Cross uses new technology to Valley to draw blood and return plasma to student donors.
By Lonnie Dominguez, Staff Writer
At the Red Cross blood drive in Valley’s Monarch Hall on Tuesday, a new device nicknamed “Power Red” allowed students to give blood while hanging onto their plasma. The machine consists of two white-metal boxes with tubes and bags of saline attached, all connected to the donor.
According to Red Cross technicians, the MCS Plus machine, or “Power Red,” separates red blood cells from blood plasma by spinning the blood through a centrifuge then draining the blood and plasma into separate bags. The plasma is then returned to the donor through an I.V.
The whole process lasts around 30 to 45 minutes and during that time, the donor simply relaxes on a padded table. Unlike a normal blood donation, which allows donors to give blood every 56 days, donors who undergo the ‘Power Red’ process must wait 112 days.
Leon Coleman, who has given blood before and was contacted by the Red Cross to give again.
“It feels nice that giving blood is helping the community,” Coleman said.
One student who chose to donate time and blood was accounting major Venobio Arana, who wanted to give blood after his grandfather passed away in Mexico due to a lack in available blood.
“That stayed in my mind, that any person could have donated blood,” Arana said. “That’s why I’m here.”
The process of donating blood usually last around 30 minutes; however, not everyone is eligible to donate blood. Students who are sick, have an infection, taking blood thinners, or are undergoing any kind of radiation treatment, are not eligible to give.
There are also some restrictions for students with tattoos and those are decided on a case-by-case basis.
After giving blood, donors are allowed to rest at a table in the hall and enjoy snacks provided by the Red Cross that include cookies, water, and juice.
The Be The Match organization co-sponsored the event, a national nonprofit run by the City of Hope, which registers people to donate bone marrow.
Outreach specialist Janet Higgins explained the process of registering, which involves taking saliva samples and placing them in an envelope. Minimal personal information is required as well signing a waiver.
Veronica Mejia, decided to donate to Be The Match because her daughter has sickle cell anemia.
“I saw they were here and thought I should totally go,” Mejia said. “I’ve always wanted to do the Be The Match thing.” I’m ready to give; I understand it’s very important.”
The blood drive, which lasted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., featured around 10 volunteers, and the Red Cross plans a return visits to Valley April 12, May 16, and June 27.