By Meredith Howard | Staff Writer
Baylor’s Multicultural Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) is running a blood drive this week that will end at 4 p.m. today. The drive began Monday, with Carter BloodCare donation buses parked by Moody Memorial Library and the Bobo Spiritual Life Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
El Paso senior Antonio Cardenas, MAPS’ community health chair, coordinated this drive.
“We try to get people to come donate blood. All the blood stays here locally, so it’s helping all the people here in Waco, and it’s just a way to give back to our community as part of our mission statement for MAPS,” Cardenas said.
MAPS is a service-oriented medical student organization that hosts a blood drive every semester and goes on mission trips to serve globally.
“The mission statement of MAPS is to empower minority students on their way to wherever that may be graduate school-wise, or even as professionals, whether that’s medical school, nursing school, optometry school… we just want to make sure that they’re going out there ready to change the face of healthcare, but also going into that field with a mission based on service,” said Atlanta senior Veronica Prince, MAPS’ president.
Cardenas said that this fall’s blood drive has been a success so far.
“We have had around 40 volunteers, MAPS members, that have helped advertise the drive in Moody or just around campus. We also have spread out some flyers around so I think we have a good rate of success so far as far as the volunteers and hopefully this is attracting more members,” Cardenas said.
Cardenas also said that students who are not currently MAPS members are still welcome to volunteer with the drive, and that MAPS hopes to bring in 200 blood donations per day for the duration of the drive.
Prince said keeping the blood donations local is important to MAPS.
“The blood that is donated does stay local, and that is of help. I can personally attest to that— I work at the Providence Emergency Department, and there is a need for blood, all types of blood,” Prince said. “You never know when you have to transfuse an elderly patient or an infant, and so having the blood on hand, ready, already in Waco… not having to wait for it really does help when it comes to the provision of quality healthcare.”
Cardenas said students who wish to donate should follow some general health guidelines.
“If they’re going to donate blood, [they should] make sure they have a good breakfast beforehand because there might be a chance that they might get a little bit dizzy or have any side effects due to the donation itself,” Cardenas said. “Right now with the weather, make sure to come prepared with good clothing; bring some layers because you might feel cold after the donation.”
Prince said that students who have an iron deficiency or anemia cannot donate blood, but that they are welcome to reach out to MAPS to learn about alternative service opportunities.
Additionally, according to Red Cross, “individuals who donate blood and platelets frequently should take an iron supplement or a multivitamin with iron. Before taking an iron supplement or multivitamin, you should consult with your health-care provider.”
T-shirts, snacks and refreshments are given to those who donate. More information about MAPS is available online.