By Jade Inglada
Students and the local community were given the opportunity to donate blood with Kaiser Permanente’s ALYX Component Collection System at East Los Angeles College’s South Gate Center on Tuesday.
Blood and Platelet Recruitment Coordinator Tiffany K. Laffitte was in charge of the blood drive.
Kaiser Permanente has been able to use the South Gate facility for its blood drives for free because of Roni Inouye, who is in charge of student activities at that campus. “Roni lets us use the rooms here for free since we’re a nonprofit and she loves to sponsor the blood drives,” Laffitte said.
Unless the Associated Student Union sponsors the blood drive at the main campus, a healthcare establishment has to pay to rent the space if it’s holding the drive.
Kaiser Permanente has been holding blood drives at the South Gate campus for about three years.
“We usually have a good turnout. Everyone around here is really supportive and we’re grateful to be here,” Laffitte said.
Compared to previous blood drives, Kaiser Permanente recently introduced the ALYX System as an option to obtain blood.
The ALYX System is a machine that collects a donor’s blood through a small needle and separates red blood cells from plasma and platelets.
This process takes twice the amount of red blood cells and replaces the blood with sterile saline fluid when the plasma and platelets are sent back into the donor.
Donors must have 38-40 percent iron levels to use the machine and also be a certain height and weight.
Using the ALYX System is equivalent to making two donations in one visit, Laffitte said. It’s cleaner and more efficient than donating through the traditional method that uses blood bags and a filter.
Students Juan Torres and Ricardo Gonzalez are returning donors at South Gate.
“This is my second time donating at South Gate,” Torres said. “I like the way they run things here. They’re pretty organized.”
Almost 100 people signed up to donate. According to Laffitte, most of the people that donate blood have already donated before.
Donors received a t-shirt and a $5 In-N-Out gift card. People that used the ALYX System to donate blood received two gift cards.
“The motivation is a double-double,” Laffitte said. “Poor college students need to eat.”
Members of the community were welcomed to give blood as long as the donors were at least 17-years-old, weighed over 100 lbs. and had a photo I.D. By donating, a person has the opportunity to save up to three lives.
People that were sick, had a tattoo that was less than a year old or had any serious heart problems over the past six months were not allowed to donate. “It’s not there’s anything wrong with their blood, we’re just more concerned about their health,” Laffitte said.