CASEY TRIMM – Severe winter weather affects people’s lives in many ways, including limits in transportation and widespread sickness, but have you ever considered the impact the weather may have on blood drives?

Earlier this month, ongoing severe winter weather has more than doubled the number of cancelled American Red Cross blood drives across the nation. In Ohio, 22 cancelled blood drives have caused a shortfall of more than 700 blood donations.

Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responds to someone in crisis. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. A single car accident victim can require as much as 100 pints of blood. A single donation can potentially help more than one patient.

“Giving back to the community can be a difficult task in some cases, but when it’s as easy as sitting in a chair for a couple minutes it’s a no brainer,” said Benjamin Foster ‘20, an environmental studies major from Westport, Connecticut.

The Red Cross now considers the situation critical and is reissuing an urgent call for blood and platelet donors. According to their website, more than 550 blood drives have been forced to cancel due to winter weather in January, causing over 16,500 donations to go uncollected through last week. On top of that, the freezing cold and extensive flu cases have lead to lower turnouts at blood drives across the country.

Specifically on Denison’s campus, DCA made a small, yet impactful step toward aiding the American Red Cross in their effort to collect blood for those who desperately need it. DCA is an umbrella organization that houses 18 service committees, one of which being the Red Cross.

According to Susie Kalinoski, Advisor for DCA student volunteer groups, they collected 23 pints by the end of the event, which unfortunately had to be ended early due to the water problem in Slayter. The DCA Red Cross committee hosts around four blood drives each semester, so usually about eight drives per year. Each drive collects close to 30 pints, so nearly 240 pints per year.

Students are encouraged to participate, although not everyone has the ability to actually give blood. If this is the case, students helpers and event organizers are just as important.

“We constantly need help tabling for donors and especially need help the day of the drive checking in donors,” said Kalinoski.

Chris Fisher ‘20, biology and pre-med major from San Francisco, California, stated, “Since I can’t actually donate blood, I am more than willing to help with the event itself, whether it be setting up, tearing down or assisting donors during the actual donation process. It’s a great way to not only give back to the community, but become involved in a field that interests me and my career goals.”  

If interested, feel free to reach out to either Elsie Parmar ‘20, the chair of the committee, or Kalinoski at

Donating blood is a safe and simple process. The four-steps include: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation and refreshments.

Life is a gift. Resolve to give someone more of it. Donate blood if you can.