Category Archives: Education Corner

Breast Cancer ribbon

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the United States. This month, the Red Cross encourages donors to give blood to support cancer patients and others who might be in need of life saving blood donations.

Breast Cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the U.S., and Breast cancer patients may need blood donations during chemotherapy, mastectomy surgery or other treatments.
By giving blood during this month, you are helping the patients who suffer from Breast Cancer make it through another day. These people need blood and donor supply is the only way to get blood to them if they need a transfusion.
So please give blood this month to help those who have all forms of cancer and other life threatening diseases or injuries. No matter your blood type, but especially those with O negative, B negative, A negative and AB blood, if you can give blood, please do to help others who need it.
To make an appointment to donate blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

SRCC Origin

Curt Udell, a Penn State Health Policy and Administration alum was watching the 2013 IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon Documentary, “Why We Dance” with his young children when he noticed something extraordinary by accident. With a simple pause of the DVD, Udell was filled with beaming pride and happiness at the smallest sight – a Penn State student sporting a Student Red Cross Club t-shirt at the event.


“I just kept screaming ‘No way!’ I looked at it for a minute and a half, and my kids were confused and were asking what I was staring at,” Udell said. “And I said that ‘that student is wearing a shirt for an organization I helped start 30 years ago’.”


And he was correct. In 1984, friends and Sigma Alpha Mu brothers Curt Udell and Bob McGowan joined what was then called the Penn State Student Red Cross Service Organization and served as secretary and treasurer alongside its President and Vice President. Today, we know this group as the Penn State Student Red Cross Club, and after all this time, the two men’s work back during their senior years at Penn State is still making a difference.


For McGowan, a Physical Sciences alum, his story of joining the organization came unconventional. As a writer for The Daily Collegian, he was assigned to cover the blood drive competition happening on campus between Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh. After interviewing the advisor and learning more about the Red Cross and about the importance of blood donation, McGowan realized how strong his interest was. In the end, he left the Collegian and threw himself into the work of the Red Cross and the competition.


“The student population as a huge potential source of blood was so underutilized at the time,” McGowan said. “The Penn State vs PITT rivalry was used to really launch the club and get things moving.”


Despite both McGowan and Udell’s interest in the organization, the two seniors were halfway to graduation when the club starting becoming more active. In order to ensure that the Student Red Cross Service Organization would continue to grow, the two friends acted as mentors to potential candidates to take their places.


What they didn’t know at the time was how much their hard work would last, as the SRCC today has an executive board of officers and a plethora of interested and dedicated members. This comes a long way from when McGowan and Udell were 2 of 4 officers and the organization was absent from a mention in the 1986 version of Penn State’s yearbook, Le Vie.


Today, Udell is the Director of Compfliance for Center of Vein Restoration, a surgical practice centering on vein and vein health out of Rockville, Maryland. McGown is now the manager of a dairy based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Despite the distance, the two men still remain close friends and travel back to dear old State whenever they can, whether it be for work or play.


“There’s an overwhelming feeling of pride,” Udell said. “It’s very warm for an alumnus to see anything they have involvement in grow and that they’ve made an impact.”

Fast Facts

Education Corner

  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood

  • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.

  • The blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O.

  • The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.

  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

  • Although an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood at any given time, less than 10% of that eligible population actually do each year

  • The actual blood donation takes less than 10-12 minutes while the entire process only takes about an hour and 15 min.

  • 1 pint is given during a donation

  • A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days, or double red cells every 112 days.

  • One donation can help save the lives of up to three people.

  • The Red Cross supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood supply and provides blood for patients in approximately 2,600 hospitals across the U.S.


RapidPass for the Win

Education Corner

Get ready, humanity. Saving lives has become even more accessible and 15 minutes faster! If you’re familiar with the traditional blood donation process, you know that there is a pre-reading, along with several questions you are required to complete before donating. From the comfort of your home, office, or on the go, a new tool called RapidPass allows you to complete this online before donating. Completing this before your appointment or walk in donation can save you up to 15 minutes! Whether you’ll use this extra time to wait in line for that extra cup of coffee you don’t need or stalk your ex on Facebook, the possibilities are truly endless with RapidPass!

To use RapidPass, simply:

1.       Visit

2.       Read the information and answer the questions

3.       Print the pass or email it to yourself to present at the drive

It’s important to remember that RapidPass can only be completed on the same day as the blood drive you plan to attend. It does not take the place of planning ahead and scheduling an appointment to cut your wait time.

By giving yourself the gift of a quicker donation process, you can give others the gift of blood with more ease, and a few extra minutes of “you time.”