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‘A Life-Saving Therapy’: Students Organize Blood Drive with Mass General Bloodmobile

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In response to the ongoing nationwide blood shortage, the Harvard Undergraduate Premedical Society held a blood drive in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital on Tuesday.

MGH’s bloodmobile collected donations in the Littauer Center parking lot. This is the fourth blood drive organized by the Harvard Undergraduate Premedical Society, which has previously cooperated with the MGH as well as the American Red Cross to organize blood drives.

For Tuesday’s drive, donors booked appointments online and donations were taken in the MGH bloodmobile. Afterward, they were sent off with a sugary treat.

Organizers anticipated more than 60 donors based on sign-ups, but turnout proved to be lower than expected due to no-shows and deferrals in light of inclement weather, impending finals, and failure to meet donor requirements.

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“It’s cold today, maybe people don’t want to be out,” said Aiden J. Taylor ’26, executive volunteer director of the HUPS.

Nonetheless, the MGH nurse on duty, Diane F. Mills, who has been working at MGH’s blood donor center for ten years, said she was ultimately pleased by the day’s final donor count.

“There were a great amount of people on the schedule. There’s always a few no-shows, which is normal,” she said. “But overall, it’s been a good turnout.”

Taylor described the value of putting students’ pre-medical curriculum into action.

“A lot of times we’re in clubs or activities that we’re just talking about things,” Taylor said. “We thought, ‘What if we actually put people into service serving people, helping to save lives even before medical school?’”

He explained that these events serve an additional function — pre-professional exposure — providing aspiring physicians in HUPS with an “opportunity to engage with patients” in “a somewhat clinical environment.”

Haley A. Lifrieri ’24, a Crimson Editorial editor, said rising international need motivated her to take action by donating blood at the drive, encouraging others to do the same.

“I just think — seeing a lot of humanitarian crises that are going on in the world right now — it’s hard to just sit back and watch it go on,” Lifrieri said. “I would strongly encourage you to consider it, especially if it takes 15 to 20 minutes out of your day and you’re healthy and well enough to, it can mean a world of difference to someone else.”

“It doesn’t hurt to feel good about helping other people,” she added.

Mills described the importance of blood donations for saving lives in critical situations.

“It’s so important because people have illnesses that sometimes require blood transfusions. They also have accidents, or they have had a traumatic injury, where they need blood to stay alive. And that’s really the only thing that might keep them alive,” she said. “It’s a life-saving therapy.”

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