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Del Mar College and Coastal Bend Blood Center Launch Collegiate Hero Program Today to Save Lives, Observe National Blood Donor Month

Vikings asked to sign up and donate blood twice a year to earn “Medal of Merit” designating them “heroes” during graduation ceremony; students challenged to exceed national donation average

Article by Melinda Eddleman

Give blood. Save lives. Be a hero! Those words could very well become the personal mantra for many student Vikings at Del Mar College (DMC) who have already or will sign up for the Coastal Bend Blood Center’s  (CBBC) Collegiate Hero Program.  The College and Blood Center partnered today with a launch event to encourage students to donate blood to ensure a much-needed supply is available in the region.

I believe the message we are emphasizing as a teaching moment today is that giving blood makes a difference.  And, we all can be heroes and save lives.

Cheryl G. Sanders, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs

According to American Blood Centers statistics, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood or platelets, yet, approximately only three percent of age-eligible individuals donate blood each year.

Sanders shared those statistics with event participants and then noted, “I think our students, even our faculty and staff here at Del Mar College, can do better.  I think we can encourage more than three percent of our campus community to get involved and donate blood.”

She then challenged both student Vikings and DMC employees to donate blood while the CBBC Blood Mobile was on campus this afternoon as part of the launch and in recognition of National Blood Donors Month. 

DMC_Collegiate Hero Program_Medal of Merit Promo

Organized by the College’s Student Leadership and Campus Life Office, the event gave DMC students the opportunity to learn about the Collegiate Hero Program from CBBC staff, sign up at the Blood Center’s table and enjoy food and games before heading to the Blood Mobile later in the afternoon.

DMC Psychology major and Student Government Association President Sofia Jimenez, who emceed the announcement, encouraged her fellow Vikings that “being active at your college allows you to make connections” and “learn leadership and communication skills, along with many other valuable skills, so I encourage all students to play an active role, especially with making this new program a success.”

The Collegiate Hero Program requires that students make two donations within the academic year prior to graduation to earn the “Medal of Merit,” which they can wear during their commencement ceremony as a designation of being a “hero.” For DMC students graduating this May, there’s time during the spring semester to make those two donations according to CBBC officials since full blood donations require only 56 days between donations. The College’s Spring 2024 Commencement is May 17.

During her remarks, Jimenez held up a Medal of Merit and shared her personal feelings.

This beautiful token can be yours for donating blood. But, I see so much more than that when I look at this. I had family members who are still here today because they received much-needed blood that saved their lives because someone, maybe someone in this room, took time to donate.

Sofia Jimenez, DMC Student and Student Government Association President
DMC Student and SGA President Sofia Jimenez Wearing Medal of Merit_Collegiate Hero Program Launch

“So, for those of you who earn one of the Medals of Merit, know that when you walk across the stage on graduation day, you’ll be recognized as an active college student but also as a ‘hero’ because you gave blood and saved lives,” she added.

Jimenez also announced that for the student club that signs up the most members to participate in the program, the Student Leadership and Campus Life Office will add $100 to their fundraising account supporting the winning club’s community service projects.

The Collegiate Hero Program allows students to make their blood donations during campus drives or anywhere the CBBC Blood Mobile is located. For DMC students who couldn’t make the program launch, they can register using the Coastal Bend Blood Center’s online form. More information about the program is also available online at www.coastalbendbloodcenter.org/collegiate-red-cord-program/.

Basic qualifications for anyone wishing to donate during area blood drives include:

·      Eat a well-balanced meal.
·      Drink plenty of water.
·      Bring a picture I.D.
·      Must be feeling well.
·      Must be age 17 or older.

Just one blood donation can save three lives. “The Coastal Bend Blood Center is thrilled to have Del Mar College come onboard and support the Collegiate Hero Program. It’s like fitting the last piece into the puzzle among area institutions.

Ashley Ramirez, Coastal Bend Blood Center Community Relations and Education Coordinator

Ramirez added, “Our ultimate goal is that students become lifelong blood donors. And, we can’t wait to view DMC graduates wearing our Medal of Merit and reminding family and friends during commencement  about donating blood. Del Mar Vikings who participate in the program are truly our heroes.”

Del Mar College has participated with blood drives for many years. From 2013 to 2015, DMC even earned the CBBC’s Top Performer Award in the Education Category for blood collections on what is now called the Heritage Campus. By partnering with the Coastal Bend Blood Center and launching their Collegiate Hero Program, the College aims to be a “Top Performer,” again, while saving lives.

About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.