Mat Jacowleff hates needles.
But his desire to help people is stronger than that fear.
The 2015 Staples High School graduate is a junior business major at Northeastern University. He’s also community service chair at his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta.
When he saw a “Give Pints for Half Pints” sign at Boston Children’s Hospital, his next project was born.
Within days, he pitched a blood donor idea to his 100 brothers. Dozens responded.
Mat was especially touched by a friend who approached him after the meeting. He said his younger sister had a disease that required frequent hospital stays — at Boston Children’s.
“Having someone I personally know say that to me really put things into perspective,” Mat explains. “It’s hard to imagine how much of an impact one donation can make if you don’t need it, or someone you love doesn’t need it. Having someone bridge that gap made me even more determined to make this event happen.”
The hospital responded as enthusiastically as Mat and his frat brothers have. The first day, the donors got pizza — in a room decorated in Northeastern’s black and red colors.
They were excited — and told the rest of the house. The next night. 20 more guys showed up.
“The best part is watching the impact this has had on my friends,” Mat says. “They come in hesitant and nervous. But they walk out with the biggest smiles on their faces, and they’re ready to book their next appointment.”
A hospital rep is impressed. “Planting the seed for long-term donation is key,” says donor recruitment team member Cynthia MacKinlay.
“People come once and they feel great. But once they come 2, 3 and 4 times, it becomes a habit.”
Mat continues to recruit donors. Already, another fraternity and one sorority have set up donation nights.
“If you are in a position of influence — as small as it may be — and you arent’ using it to make an impact, it’s a waste,” Mat says.
“I’m hoping this goes big. If donating blood becomes a trend at Northeastern, then it can spread to other schools in Boston and so on. There’s really no limit.”
(Hat tip: Gaetana Deiso. To read a fuller story from Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog, click here.)