Giving blood to save lives

Taft’s Student Government Association (SGA) held a blood drive for the Red Cross Hospital on Dec.19, 2019.

Taft has held this blood drive for 12 years in the forum (Room 162). The blood drive is held three times a school year, in Oct, Dec, and April. Each drive takes 5-6 weeks to prepare

“Setting the advertisement for the blood drive took a week to process as we try to put up posters and send out emails to the students. I wish I could help to donate blood, but I couldn’t because I had track and running too much after losing blood might cause damage to my body with some side effects,” said Student Government President senior Sarah Hennessy, Div. 047.

In order to donate blood, donors must be at least 16 years or older and your weight must be more than 110 lbs. You must drink lots of fluids, eat a healthy meal, and take iron pills. If students passed the iron pill test with a 13.0 or higher then they could automatically donate blood to the Red Cross Hospital to give blood to other patients in need. Research shows that students who become blood donors in high school frequently go on to become seasoned donors throughout their adult lives. Students would also receive a scholarship after they were eligible for 9 donations.*

“I donated blood twice this year which was a great experience for me. The first time I did went really well. This inspired because I love doing things that involve helping people. My biggest advice for the people who would donate next time would need to drink lots of water so you could keep being hydrated before and after the donation,” said senior Chloe Vazquez, Div. 045.

On the day of, donors would be asked questions if their eligible to donate or not, then if so then they will take your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and the donor’s finger to test the blood for the iron level. After that students would be offered snacks and water right before donations to raise the volume and blood pressure to prevent lightheadedness. Finally, after students donated they would receive cookies and water to replenish. Red blood cells are replaced after 8 weeks. The entire donation process would take about an hour.*

IB Biology and Forensics Teacher William McDade who sponsors the SGA said, “There are no specific blood types required to donate, but if your blood type is B- or O- then you would donate extra if you wanted to. The process was free. There were no issues while doing this process so far. If students do platelets (a small colorless cell fragments in our blood that form clots that stops or prevent bleeding), then they will get paid for doing so. If you have high blood pressure you cannot donate.”

Donors need to drink more fluids than usual for up to 4 hours after donating. After the bandage is put on, it is left for 4–6 hours and students had to refrain from excessive bending, pushing or lifting as it may result in bruising.

“This was my first time donating blood. When I did it I felt a little shock from the needle, but I was fine after that. This inspired me since I watch a lot of Grey’s Anatomy in my spare time when I’m not busy. My advice on doing this would be to drink a lot of water and don’t be nervous or afraid since it’s not that scary to donate blood,” said senior Liya Zenino, Div. 023.

Overall, the blood drive yielded was successful. “We got 73 volunteers, and some people who registered didn’t donate because they were either overweight or had high blood pressure. We ended up getting 48 donations which were better since last year we got 33 bags of blood and this year we got 48 bags of blood,” said Hennessey.

December became successful to donate blood for the Red Cross hospital and thanks to all donors who participated and donated on Thurs. Dec 19. For more information on the blood drive visit donate.illinois.versiti.org.

Students participating and donating blood in the forum for the Red Cross Hospital on Dec.19.
Photographer Carmella Gilio.

Sources:

*https://www.tafthighschool.org/ourpages/auto/2019/12/10/41263408/TAFT%20%20Permission%20Slip%20_2_%20blood%20drive.pdf