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Wolfpack Gives Blood (Lots of It)

On Thursday May 3rd, the Multi-purpose Room at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) was transformed into a hospital-like setting from 11am-5pm to accommodate individuals who wished to donate blood. The spring blood drive was organized by the Voice of AUK, a student-run organization, and executed by Kuwait's Central Blood Bank staff. According to the estimates of Voice of AUK, 170 people had shown up and 140 had donated blood at the end of the day.

The room bustled with activity as dozens turned out, usually with friends, casual if they had done it before, hopeful to be deemed eligible if previously rejected, and often anxious if they were first-time donors. Each person had to first complete a lengthy questionnaire, await their turn at the data-entry station, and then get their hemoglobin level checked by a device similar to the one diabetics use. If it was lower than normal, they couldn't donate. Otherwise, they moved on to the last step of the screening process where a doctor asked a few questions and measured blood pressure.

Movable partitions divided the room into male and female sections, housing four blue recliners each. Male and female nurses floated around in their white uniforms, starting the 20-minute actual donation in some and ending it in others. They also monitored the machine for alarms and donors for any symptoms of discomfort, such as light-headedness, which was more common among females. Voice of AUK members and volunteers, easily identified by their red shirts, helped greet potential donors, managed traffic, and made sure every donor grabbed a donut and juice to up their sugar levels, and a special badge as a token of appreciation on their way out.

The event's organizer, Voice Business Manager Hala Ahmed, said that after months of preparation, she was "absolutely ecstatic" at the large turnout. Voice faculty advisor, David Hart, stated that "Hala has done a fantastic job; this just wouldn't have happened without her tireless efforts. It's great to see those efforts rewarded with such great support from the community."

This is the fifth time since 2008 that the Voice has organized a blood drive that one can safely consider it a trademark event. The idea of holding a blood drive was originally conceived by the AUK alumna, Dina El Zohairy, to raise awareness among the community about the importance of donating blood to help make it readily available for cancer, trauma and post-surgical patients, among others. The Voice of AUK board members also found it an excellent opportunity to recruit potential Voice members, particularly writers, and increase the organization's visibility on-campus to promote readership, according to Hart.

The Voice of AUK is the university's official student newspaper, operated exclusively by a student board in consultation with a faculty advisor. Issues are produced monthly and contain diverse sections such as News, Arts, Health & Science, Opinions/Editorials, and an Arabic Corner.
Images from the Event

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 27th May 2012

Photography by the Office of Public Affairs (C) 2012

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