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Cesar Chavez Blood Drive on Campus

21 pints of blood were collected from 33 donors in a time span of roughly four hours in the blood drive that took place last week.


The blood drive was organized by the Latina Leadership Network Student Club (LLNSC) as well as the Migrant Students Foundation. The event was more than just the traditional blood drive, it was the Cesar E. Chavez Blood Drive challenge. The LLNSC brought this to Shasta College for the first time, in order to “bring awareness to the Latino population of donating blood,” Hortencia Meraz, a major player in the LLNSC told us.


The event was named for Cesar Chavez as a way to honor him and his actions by public service. Cesar Chavez was a Mexican-American farmworker that struggled and fought in order to better the working conditions of farm workers worldwide.


According to the website for the Migrant Students group, the event is to “celebrate Cesar E. Chavez’s legacy as a civil leader” by actively giving the students a role in the blood drive, as well as making it a competition to see which school can donate the most.


According to Hortencia, Chavez’s slogan “Si se puede” is “widely used in academic and grassroots organizations symbolizing that with the support and determination it is possible to make a difference.” The phrase roughly translates to ‘Yes, it is possible,’ although has often been translated to ‘Yes, we can!’ for a more enthusiastic feel.


At the event here on campus, donors would approach the blood drive vehicle, fill out all the necessary forms, ensuring that all the donors are healthy. Once they passed the initial test, which is to say they were the right height and didn’t have any great medical problems, the donor would enter the vehicle which was shaped like a large motorhome.


Then he or she would be instructed to wait for a moment until there would be one final test, where the donor’s finger was pricked to check on their iron content of their blood. It was a short pain, like a bug bite. After this, he or she would find an open chair, the chairs that are like dentists chairs, and wait his or her turn. The friendly phlebotomist would chat a little, ensuring the donor was comfortable once they started to withdraw the blood.


Afterwards, the donor may feel a little dizzy or lightheaded; this is a completely normal feeling. Just remember, if you are donating blood and you start to feel really light headed and the world begins to spin, make sure to let the phlebotomist know, otherwise you will only feel worse. A certain person I know well might have done this.


After donating blood, I was able to talk more to Hortencia Meraz. She was born into a family of farmworkers and hopes to be the first person in her family that will graduate college. I have had the pleasure of having a class with her, and she participates with a zeal and energy that makes it quite evident she will be able to attain her goal.


“I look for role models that are inspiring to continue my journey,” she told me, “Cesar E. Chavez, through his legacy, has been there with me along the way.”


Hortencia also would like to thank all the people that came out and donated, even the ones that tried to donate and were turned away for one reason or another. Hopefully, people learned a little more about Cesar Chavez, and who knows, he may inspire more and more people like he did Hortencia.


By: Ryan Loughrey

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