Bleeding Woodstock

by Alexa R.

Staff Writer

Every year Woodstock High School hosts blood drives through the American Red Cross. This year’s first blood drive was held October 9, 2013, with many students participating in the production to make it the most effective.

The American Red Cross is the nation’s largest blood collection organization, supplying more than 40 percent of the blood and blood products used in our country. They collect approximately 6.5 million units of blood from roughly 4 million generous volunteer blood donors. From these donations, the Red Cross is able to distribute around 9.5 million blood products each year, including 6 million units of red blood cells, to patients at approximately 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

Many life-saving medical treatments and procedures involve blood transfublood drive 1 - arsions and would not be possible without a safe and reliable blood supply like the kind the American Red Cross receives. Donating blood can be a lifesaving contribution that benefits accident victims, cancer patients, surgical candidates, children with blood disorders and many others. “At Woodstock, we average around 175 people donating each time,” says Mrs. Cathy Roberts, the DECA Club leader who organizes WHS’s blood drives. “We host it twice each year. They [the Red Cross] come to us for blood because there is a large population and because the younger the blood is, the less contaminated it is with germs.” Parth Patel, 11th grade Vice President of Community Service for DECA, noted during the blood drive, “By the looks of the amount of people who have signed up and showed up, we seem to have met our quota, which was 157 pints.”

Different emotions run through people’s heads when they are about to give blood, and most everyone does it for a different reason. Ashton Tongco, senior, said, “I’m only nervous about the finger prick, but I do it because I’m saving lives.” However, senior Ken Chong was feeling “hyper” and ready to donate. “I did it because of social facilitation, but I have never done it before,” he said. People find various benefits from giving blood. Junior Lilly Longoria said the reason she gave blood was to “get out of class and get pizza.” Others, like Kalin Bagwell, junior, said her mother had made her sign up because she witnessed first-hand needing someone’s blood. “My mom had a disease a while ago, and she needed blood, so she knows how good of a cause it really is,” Bagwell explained. Even our teachers donate. Mr. Andy Hall, English teacher, donates each time because of his grandfather. “My grandpa was put in the newspaper for having donated so much blood, something like five gallons, and I think if he could give that much, I should be able to. Plus it’s a good way to give back,” he said. No matter the reason, giving blood is always wanted and needed.

None of this would be possible without Mrs. Roberts and her DECA Club members. Eight years ago, a teacher retired and handed down this job to her and the club. Now, each time it is held, she and the members wake up early to go help set up and prepare the gym for all the people who donate. Not only do they work diligently that day, but they also take weeks in advance to plan for what needs to be done by discussing it in their meetings. Mrs. Roberts said, “I meet with the President of DECA Rani Tilva, and Vice President of Community Service, Parth Patel, to figure out most of what needs to happen. Since I have been doing this for so long, we pretty much know what needs to happen. We just have to work on things like promotions around school, organizing signups, putting people in positions, and knowing the format of the day. We discuss all of this in tblood drive 2 - arhe club meetings.” Their efforts show immensely when the day runs as smoothly as it did with this blood drive.

Those considering donating blood at upcoming blood drives should make sure they meet the requirements. Blood donors must be healthy, be at least 17 years old (or 16 years old with parental permission), and weigh at least 110 lbs. Additional weight requirements apply for donors 18 years old and younger and all high school donors. 16-year-olds are allowed to donate blood with parental consent. A parent will need to review the Student’s Guide to Blood Donation and sign the parent/guardian consent form for the young adult to be able to donate blood. The student will need to bring the signed form to his or her blood donation appointment. A signed consent form is required each time the student plans to donate. Male double red cell donors must be healthy, be at least 5’1″, and weigh at least 130 lbs; female double red cell donors must be healthy, be at least 17 years old, be at least 5’5″, and weigh at least 150 lbs.

Since so many students, teachers and staff signed up and donated blood for an incredible cause, Woodstock reached 144 pints as a school and saved 432 lives. Woodstock hopes to keep saving lives by continuing the blood drive again towards the end of the year. By doing this small task, people can give back to their community in such a vital way and save three lives each time.

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