WSU and U of I honor civil rights leader with Cesar Chavez Blood Drive

PULLMAN, WA - Every year, colleges across the country participate in the Cesar Chavez Blood Drive Challenge to save lives while honoring the legacy of a civil rights leader.

This week, we followed the blood drive as it traveled across the Palouse to find out why Cougs and Vandals are eager to donate.

The Cesar E. Chavez Blood Drive Challenge was created in 2009, and now over 300 colleges across the nation participate.

"Essentially to educate people, and not only that, more importantly to save lives," said U of I student Luis Aleman.

The University of Idaho held its blood drive on Tuesday, and Washington State University held theirs on Thursday.

"Well the blood drive here we have, is to honor Cesar Chavez's legacy as an American civic leader," said Aleman.

"Cesar Chavez is a representative for the farm workers all over the United States," said WSU Student Paola Toledo.

"For 30 years he fought for civil rights and for the rights to unionize in the field," said WSU Student Eduardo Castaneda-Diaz.

"We really look up to him and kind of enables all this to happen because he gives us that strength to be leaders in our community," said Toledo.

The donor specialists see a lot of first-time donors when they visit college campuses. But, they make the process as easy and relaxing as possible.

"A lot of them are first timers, just like I am," said Aleman. "I'm pretty excited to be here."

As it turns out, donating is easy and almost painless. The donors we spoke with said the most important thing is that it saves lives.

"My brother was actually in a car accident when I was in the sixth grade, and he received actually six blood transfusions," said WSU Foundation Employee Rafael Pruneda. "And so I remember as a sixth grader being really kind of astonished that he had to receive six different units of blood, and realizing that if he didn't have those units, then he wouldn't be here with us today."

"It's just a kind gesture, you know," said Eduardo Castaneda-Diaz. "Who knows, maybe you'll need your own blood someday."

"It's really quick and easy," said Pruneda. "And it's awesome to see a lot of new donors be able to make that commitment, and hopefully throughout their lives, continue with it."

The Migrant Student Foundation created the Cesar Chavez Blood Drive Challenge... And this year their goal is to collect three-thousand donations.