In honor of Cesar Chavez day, an Inland Northwest Blood Center (INBC) blood drive took place in the PUB MPR on March 31. The blood drive was part of the National Cesar Chavez Blood Drive Challenge, which is put on annually by the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) chapters across the nation. EWU’s CAMP program competed against Central Washington University, Washington State University, Columbia Basin College and Heritage College for the Washington state competition.
At EWU, CAMP is part of the Chicano Education program. CAMP is a federal program designed to give academic and financial assistance to students from migrant and farmworker backgrounds during their freshman year of college. The program strives to increase retention rates and academic achievement of these students. Of the CAMP students at EWU, 81 percent are first generation college students, according to the CAMP home page on EWU’s Web site. Cesar Chavez was a Latino civil rights leader active during the 1950s and ’60s. Chavez came from a family forced into migrant work during the Great Depression. His motto in life was “Si se puede” (it can be done).
He led the Community Service Organization, a Latino civil rights organization, for 10 years before founding the National Farm Workers Association, the first successful American farm workers union.
Following the teachings of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Chavez had a firm belief in the principles of nonviolence. Using boycotts and strikes, Chavez successfully orchestrated the creation of the first industry-wide labor contracts in agriculture. In 1975, he pushed forward the only law that protects migrant workers today, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act.
After his death in 1993, his family founded the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation to educate Americans about Chavez’s life and inspire the nation’s youth to carry on his legacy.
In homage to this legacy, the blood drive was a success, according to Doug Roth, the lead staff collection specialist for the INBC. Eastern collected 62 total units of blood, doubling their original projections. “Each donation has the potential to help up to three people,” Roth explained.
During the event, 82 new donors were registered with the INBC. The INBC supplies blood to local hospitals across Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.
Registered donors can donate blood every 56 days, or up to seven times per year. Platelets, however, can be donated once a week, or up to 24 times yearly. People who donated during the competition are eligible to donate platelets seven days after giving blood.
“Platelets are in need just as much as whole blood and the shelf life is only five days,” Roth said. Whole blood (red cells) has a shelf life of 42 days, while plasma can be stored for up to a year. Roth encouraged students interested in donating platelets or plasma to call the INBC at (800) 423-0151 to make an appointment.
Platelets and plasma are not only useful for trauma, but cancer treatment, transplant surgery and burn victims, according to Roth. The INBC makes regular trips to Cheney for all who would like to donate whole blood. The Mobile Blood Center travels to Cheney Community Church, Eastern and the Grove apartments. Specific dates and details are available on the INBC Web site, www.inbc2.org.
CAMP student Eduardo Enriquez donated blood for the fifth time during the competition. “The way I look at it, sometime down the road I might need a donation, and someone will do it for me.”