Community and Pi Gamma team up for blood drive

Josh Setchel

Topeka’s Community Blood Center, along with the Pi Gamma Chapter of the Beta Beta Beta Honor Society took a few hours out of their schedules yesterday to hold a blood drive just outside of Lee Arena. Students and faculty alike dropped in to make their donations from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Upon arrival, donors were greeted by CBC employees, including Tony Zima, field director, who took time to discuss his position.

“We’re here to save lives, that’s what we do,” Zima said. “When people give and receive blood it affects the community in a very positive way. It helps bring loved ones home and cause many to rethink themselves positively. When someone is faced with death, that’s the best thing they can do for themselves.” 

Zima, whose twin children attend Washburn, continues to work with the community after more than five years. In his time with the organization, he saw an increase in the turn out of college age donors, with 49 appointments scheduled on Washburn’s campus alone. The average amount of blood donated per drive over the past three years numbered about 30 units.

According to Zima, the greatest generation of donors are reaching a point where they can no longer give back to those who need it in this way. The organization will soon be relying on younger donors.

Rosie Nichols, sophomore political science major, gave blood for the second time.

“I like contributing to the community any way I can,” Nichols said.

For this organization, donors, workers, and receivers alike are seen as family. They look out and care for one another all the while taking pride in their work forging strong bonds with those they serve. Even when it means, to quote Zima once more, “saying goodbye.”

Community Blood Center is operated out of Kansas City with major offices in Topeka and St. Joseph, Missouri. They recently partnered with New York Blood Center, allowing the organization to expand to over 65 hospitals in the area including, but not limited to, Stormont Vail and St. Francis. There are also plans to open a state-of-the-art lab in Kansas City very soon, with Zima stating genome testing as a major focus of their research. Not to mention a substantial growth in the organization’s reach such as this can only lead to more donors.

In the meantime, more drives are being planned and other organizations are active in the area as well.