News

The stories behind the blood

The needle slides into her vein and the blood starts pumping into the plastic bag. This scene occurs countless times at blood drives, but for many people, including CSC Senior Lauren Fedorka, they donate it for a special reason.
Fedorka has an O-positive blood type, the universal donor, and she goes to blood drives to donate because of her brother, Matthew.
“My brother had Ewing-Sarcoma, a rare type of cancer and he could use my blood to help him get better,” she said in a low voice remembering the hardship.
Luckily for Fedorka, blood and chemotherapy has helped her brother recover.
“He has been in remission for a year and eight months,” she said.
Every year the Red Cross holds more than 200,000 blood drives across the nation. Every time the Red Cross comes to Castleton, senior Gabby Brooks is there to help get people drinks and bring her smile to the donors. Since her freshman year she has worked at every single CSC blood drive.
 “I work all day, morning to close,” said Brooks, who says she loves the volunteering aspect of it. She helps out because of two people, her mom and her brother.
Her mom Lynda is a nurse for the Red Cross. Her brother, Thomas, is a veteran who was injured in a mortar attack eight years ago 20 miles outside of Baghdad. From this attack, he lost part of his leg.
And even those taking the blood from donors have stories about why they do what they do.
Jugo Brkovic has been working for the Red Cross for seven years. In 1992 his home country of Bosnia was in a civil war leading him to flee the country to protect his family. He became a refugee in Serbia and Montenegro until 2002 when he came to Vermont, by way of Colchester. For him working for Red Cross has a special meaning
“I left my country to save my life, and now I work for the Red Cross to save other people’s lives,” he said.
 But while some people have heartbreaking or uplifting stories about why they donate or work for Red Cross, some donors just want to give back to the community.
“I give blood because it’s a good thing to do and people always need it,” said Castleton student Zach Scheffler.
Castleton worker Robin Fortier gave blood for the first time at the most recent blood drive last month because, “my daughter told me too,” she said with a chuckle.
According to the Red Cross, someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds.
“If you can give blood you should, just think of the impact you are making on someone’s life,” said Castleton student Kevin Santora. “Just try to think of the people that really want to give blood but are turned away, it has to be a big disappointment.”  
Roger Hill, the head nurse at the blood drive, talked about why some people can’t give blood.
“For most people, they aren’t able to give blood because they aren’t feeling good, their blood pressure is to low, or their temperature is too high,” he said.  
Sodexo employee Beverly Boyce was one potential donor to be turned away due to low iron levels.
“I had everything I could find to increase my iron levels,” she said. “I ate a lot of spinach and baked beans.”
 But while she was unable to give on this day, she has been giving her blood since she was a teenager — and she turns 81 next month.
“I will be back the next time they come back,” she said.