Blood heroes deliver

Photo of Batman
Photo of Batman
Carol Love gets blood drawn by Jim Smith in Blood Centers of the Pacific;s mobile facility at the Brentwood campus.
LMC, Brentwood, Calif., February 13, 2014. Pacific’s mobile facility at the Brentwood campus. Photo By Cathie Lawrence


Every four minutes someone is diagnosed with blood diseases, 70 percent of them do not have a bone marrow match in their family. 90 to 100 thousand people in the United States suffer from sickle cell anemia. These diseases are a problem that needs more attention, and Los Medanos College’s Alpha Gamma Sigma club did what they could to raise attention on campus last week.

The AGS Club is the LMC branch of a statewide honors society and all of the branches were challenged to get as many donors as possible. The club decided to help raise awareness using a superhero theme and AGS member Debora Eckhardt led the way.

“It is a very serious topic but we wanted students to also have fun while they were learning. We used the Superhero theme to try and do this,” Eckhardt said.

The theme was brought to life with superhero theme music, superhero cutouts and volunteers wearing superhero capes.

AGS also themed what they were selling to raise money as they sold pairs of ring pops asking people “Will you marrow me” as a way to symbolize the need for a bone marrow match.

They didn’t just stop with bone marrow. They also put together a blood drive and challenged other clubs to get involved as well.

The Shenanigans Club helped out by organizing a skit and performing it on Thursday in the indoor quad. Honors Club helped out by handing out information on safe sex, condoms and offered free HIV and AIDS testing. AGS also got a hand from Aisha Mckneely on behalf of the newly formed Helping Hearts Heal Club.

On top of all of the on-campus help, they received help from Natalia Hellems, an account rep. with the Blood Centers of the Pacific to bring the blood drive to LMC.

Also present at the blood drive was author Adrienne Easter who was there to sign her book “How My Daughter is a Survivor of Sickle Cell Disease” and help raise awareness about the need for blood.

“I hope we get a lot of people to donate blood,” she said adding, “My daughter needs blood transfusions every three weeks, so it’s very important to save a life.”

She said that the motivation behind the book was to raise more awareness to a disease that doesn’t get as much attention as cancer and HIV.

Hellems said, on the same subject, that it was not only important for people to donate blood, but it was also important to get a diversity of people who donate blood.

One out of every 500 African-American births is affected by sickle cell disease, and the best match for them when receiving blood transfusions is people of the same ethnicity.

In the end, they accomplished what they hoped.

They held the event at both the Pittsburg and Brentwood campuses and in total, 50 pints of blood were donated which amounts to 114 lives in our communities that will be effected, and 188 people signed up to be bone marrow donors.

While AGS took a huge step towards raising awareness, these are diseases that continue to need more help.

Becoming a bone marrow donor is as easy as swabbing your mouth with four swabs, while giving blood takes about an hour and 15 minutes, the actual process to donate blood only takes about 12 minutes.

If you would like to sign up to be a bone marrow donor you can visit‎, and if you would like to donate blood you can make an appointment at