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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Hawks make a miracle by giving blood

The @hawksmakeamiracle Instagram page is spreading awareness about the importance of donating blood through social media. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

When the coronavirus outbreak hit, Mary Brown, Ph.D., professor of Latin, recognized the urgency of increasing the nation’s blood supply and proposed a schoolwide initiative. 

Brown has helped set up blood drives for years and knew she had to get involved when U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, made a public appeal for blood donations in mid-March just as COVID-19 protocols were being announced. 

“It seemed [like] the right thing to do to connect Hawks at home with the concept,” Brown wrote in an email to The Hawk.

Brown knew that her student, Fox Ryker ’20, would make the ideal director for the initiative, which the two are calling “Hawks Make A Miracle.” Ryker has experience as an EMT and emergency department volunteer. He also is currently volunteering to triage COVID-19 patients at Lankenau Medical Center.

The goal of the campaign is to promote blood donations and spread awareness of the current urgency for donations. It launched as @hawksmakeamiracle on Instagram on March 23. Ryker is using the account to challenge students to give blood, asking them to post a selfie after donating and include the hashtag #hawksmakeamiracle. 

Blood supply is shortened during a pandemic because people are less inclined to donate out of fear, and blood donation centers close. Ryker said donor blood is still needed for transfusions in order to replace or make up for lost blood. Medical emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes, car accidents and fatal wounds all require donor blood.

Essentially, Ryker said he hopes that when students see their peers donating, it will encourage them to follow the trend.

“As a whole, college-aged students are not a vulnerable population, and we have the opportunity to help in a unique way,” Ryker said. 

For those concerned about social distancing, Surgeon General Adams tweeted in his call for blood donations on March 17 that social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement. 

That is Ryker’s message as well.

“As long as you’re washing your hands and not touching your face, you’re not putting yourself at any higher risk or danger,” Ryker said. “All donated blood goes through rigorous testing no matter what, so there’s no concern of patients receiving ‘bad’ blood.”

Students can find a donation drive near them on the American Red Cross website.

Ryker and Brown plan on keeping “Hawks Make A Miracle” up and running for as long as possible in order to support the American Red Cross. They also plan to partner with SJU Athletics to help get the word out. Brown’s husband, Jim Brown ’76, served as a longtime administrator for SJU Athletics until his retirement in 2019. 

For Mary Brown and Ryker, it’s a matter of being on the right side of history. 

It is a really good feeling knowing that you’re helping your fellow men and women,” Ryker said. 

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