Blood Centers of the Pacific/Phi Delta Epsilon Thalassemia Blood Drive
by Rosheen Birdie
October 8, 2013
It is it simply an amazing experience when students, community members, and service workers come together to organize an event that enriches the lives of so many in our community! This October 8, interns with the Thalassemia Outreach Program at Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland worked alongside blood donation services workers from Blood Centers of the Pacific and members of the University of California (UC) Berkeley premedical fraternity, Phi Delta Epsilon, to effectively run a blood drive on the UC Berkeley campus.
The drive attracted nearly 50 participants, of which 39 were able to successfully give the gift of life. Participants included Berkeley community members, as well as students from all backgrounds. For some, it was their first time donating, and the experience was made all the more meaningful when they were informed of the many ways that their blood would help those in need. Thalassemia interns Leslie Yeh, Wendi Gu, and Rosheen Birdie worked hard at preparing giveaways with essential thalassemia informational packets, as well as sweets, to keep the donors’ glucose levels in check. Fred McFadden from Blood Centers of the Pacific worked closely with the students to design and distribute publicity materials and organize the logistics of the event. The event truly benefitted from teamwork as Melanie Wathugala, president of Phi Delta Epsilon, and numerous fraternity members were able to meticulously guide people through the process of registering and completing their paperwork prior to donating. The blood drive ran for a full five hours, from 10 a.m. until the last donor was accepted at 3 p.m. All in all, the day was a rousing success.
When blood is broken down into its components (red cells, platelets, and plasma), each unit has the potential to touch three different lives, which means that the generosity of the blood donors will make a difference in the lives of 117 Bay Area patients! We look forward to putting together future drives in order to expand on this success and to continue to keep the community informed about the necessity of blood—especially to help those living with genetic blood disorders such as thalassemia.
Rosheen Birdie is a junior at UC Berkeley majoring in molecular and cellular biology and public health. She is extremely interested in studying global health and health policy in order to better understand the broad divide in healthcare access and quality around the world.