It is time for Gen Z to start donating blood

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It has been reported by the American Red Cross that blood donations have gone down 40% in the last 20 years and that Gen Z is the common cause of the issue. The saddening thing is that the demand for blood is constantly rising, while the world keeps losing donors. The age group who donates the most blood are people ranging from 35-45, and most people have to stop donating blood around age 65.

The Vitalant Blood Donation “Bloodmobile” will be on campus on Free Speech April 16, 17 and 24. The times range from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walk-ups are available, but making an appointment is simple online. Their website is https://www.vitalant.org/unlv, where people can make an appointment and find tips and tricks to look at before donating and eligibility guides. 

Of the population, over 60% of people are eligible to donate, but only 3% do. With mobile places to donate, it is easier than ever for students to get those numbers up and save lives. The Vitalant website is also updated monthly with when they will be on campus. All of the blood stays in Nevada and goes to local hospitals.

Mike Doria is currently the communications manager in Nevada for Vitalant Blood Donation. His day-to-day life consists of advertising how blood donations are truly needed and putting on blood drives all around Southern Nevada. In an interview with him, he stated that, “We always need donors to come in and donate blood because there are no days off in the hospital. Somebody always needs blood everyday.” 

A pattern Doria has seen in his career is that only baby boomers tend to be coming in to donate blood. He states that 18-24 year olds had a 10% drop only from 2019 to 2021. He believes Gen Z is the generation that can truly be ready to save the world, but most people are not aware of all of the benefits of saving blood. He uses Instagram and Twitter at a local level but can agree that blood is hard to advertise. He claims, “It is nobody’s fault, but it is something that is in the back of people’s minds. If we do not get the message out, nobody will know about it.”

From October to December, it is always hard for the industry to maintain their donors. With the holidays around, everyone is busy doing other things and schools are closed, so the trucks cannot go there. The holidays bring upon a 25% drop, so Vitalant works more on advertising methods during that off season, because no matter the time of year, the demand for blood is always high. 

Donating blood takes 45 minutes to an hour, and becoming a regular donor can help you know you are saving tons of lives. Doria states, “Gen Z has such an opportunity to change the trajectory in the United States, and it is the most humanitarian thing anybody in the world can do. You never know when it will be you who needs it.”

Jake Hook, a mathematics major at UNLV donates blood because he feels that it is a good thing to do. He wants to do it whenever he has time and also likes to do it because it gives him easy access to his vitals. Hook also states, “If you feel unsure about donating blood, ask other people about their experiences, and then come in and do it yourself. I personally hate needles, but donating blood is not that bad, and it is also rewarding.” 

I personally have been donating blood for about four years now and agree that more people my age should be doing it. It is a very simple process, you receive snacks afterwards and you feel good the rest of the week knowing that you have made a difference.  

It is not hard to do good things, so next time you see the Vitalant Bloodmobile on campus, stop by and change a life.

1 COMMENT

  1. No comment on WHY this might be happening? Just uncritically demanding Gen Z step up? No specific local statistics? Your two sources are a Vitalant employee and student donating blood to ‘check his vitals’ and to feel good about himself instead of any possible alternative perspective? I’m not asking for impartial and rigorous investigative journalism with multiple contrasting viewpoints but this is disappointing.

    Let’s examine some possible reasons why people donate less:
    -Exclusion criteria for donation continuing to be biased against people who are not purely monogamous or heterosexual, or considered to be part of ‘high risk groups’
    -Many choose to get paid for plasma instead because if they’re going to use their limited free time (which is often occupied by work/other obligations), they might as well get paid. Blood donations should be paid, but people will continue to mention ‘moral hazard’ of people lying to donate, as if this does not happen already in plasma or blood donation. Moral hazard is further BS because Vitalant (among other blood companies) offers ‘rewards’ for donation – just because it’s not directly money doesn’t mean it’s not compensation.
    -It can be very challenging to get to the Vitalant blood mobile, which 1) frequently has a long line/appointments (often due to social organizations/clubs helping recruit members to donate on specific days)
    2) very limited seats to donate in the blood mobile (only 2 IIRC)
    3) limited time between/before/after classes to do so

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