By submitted [email protected]
CORPUS CHRISTI – Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs life-saving blood or platelets. To meet this need, the Coastal Bend Blood Center (CBBC) has partnered with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to turn islanders into collegiate heroes. The program launched on August 29 with an on-campus blood drive.
The Collegiate Hero program encourages Islanders to donate vital blood to help bolster the local blood supply. In return, students who participate in the program twice a year will be recognized by earning a medal of merit to wear with their cap and gown at the start.
“Island students are committed to improving the lives of others. Through this partnership, they truly become lifesavers,” said Dr. Clarenda Phillips, TAMU-CC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “I can’t wait to see our Islanders walk across the stage at the start with the Collegiate Heroes medal around their necks, showing the world that they care about the communities that have supported them throughout their college careers.” According to Ashley Ramirez ’08, CBBC’s Community Outreach and Education Coordinator, the Collegiate Hero program developed as a natural progression from the High School Hero and Red Cord programs already in place in high schools across the city. region. These high school programs account for 30% of total donations in the region, but during the summer months, blood bank stocks drop dangerously low.
“As a TAMU-CC alumnus, I knew I wanted to start something on the island the day I started working at Coastal Bend Blood Center,” Ramirez said. “So I’m thrilled that we’re launching the Collegiate Hero program in partnership with Island University.”
Blood donations received by CBBC serve 22 medical facilities in 10 Coastal Bend counties. The CBBC receives up to 85% of its donations from its hemomobiles, and these donations are used to meet a variety of medical needs, including leukemia, hemophilia, or cancer patients, or accident victims. The CBBC reports that a single donation has the potential to save up to three lives.
“Coastal Bend Blood Center is thrilled to launch the Collegiate Hero program with our first college, TAMU-CC.” said Corey Survant ’05, President and CEO of CBBC. “Blood is needed every day in our community. This program directly impacts the blood supply to the Coastal Bend community and helps support our rescue mission.
CBBC has had success in its TAMU-CC blood drives in the past, receiving up to 60 donations in a single campus visit. Holly Davis ’24, a TAMU-CC biomedical sciences major, said donating blood is a family tradition.
“My grandfather donated over seven gallons of blood in his lifetime and saved so many lives doing it,” Davis said. “Furthermore, I saw firsthand the power of a single blood donation during my recent work in an emergency room. I saw a trauma patient stabilize after receiving eight units of blood. This blood saved their lives and really made me realize how important each donation is.
TAMU-CC is the first higher education institution to launch the Collegiate Hero program, but the CBBC plans to expand this program to other local and regional college campuses in the future.