ALLEN SCHOOL STUDENTS ROCK THE BLOOD DRIVE
Volunteer donors provide blood to over 4.5 million people a year in the United States, a total of 14,600,000 pints, enough to fill 25 enormous swimming pools! There is, however, an ongoing major shortage as blood banks across the nation attempt to maintain a minimum of a three day supply during these challenging times.
Every three seconds, someone in the United States requires blood. It may be for the treatment of an accident, burn and trauma, newborn babies, mothers delivering babies, transplants, surgery, cancer, chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease, etc. One out of every three people will need a transfusion to save their life at some point during their lifetime. Each donation helps multiple lives following component (red cell, platelet, plasma) separation. The need for blood never takes a vacation.
New York City has the worst donor percentage in the entire country. That statistic did not apply on October 17th, when more than half of the school’s population “cast its vote” for saving lives by donating blood at the Allen School Annual Autumn Blood Drive. In conjunction with Brooklyn/Staten Island Blood Services whose crew of caring and expert phlebotomists set up shop in the Allen School classrooms and media center, a remarkable synergy and shared focus resulted in a landslide of donations.
THE GOOD WILL OF THE PEOPLE:
Comments by students who participated
I was just thinking back to 9/11 and have always had some regrets for not donating at that time. I haven’t been asked since then, so I jumped on the first opportunity to save a life.
I feel that I now have had experience in saving somebody else’s life. It was exhilarating, just the ability to be able to help somebody else. The feeling you get from it is overwhelming. My father was in the hospital and he actually received blood, so it felt really good to do that for someone else.
I felt grateful because I was able to help so many people that day. It made me feel like a hero.
I wanted to donate blood because the way it was introduced it to us, how they explained about the nation’s blood shortage. This was my second time involved with blood donation. In high school, I was denied because I was a little anemic. So, I decided to try again here and it felt amazing to be able to help. It is a special feeling to know that such a small amount of blood helps so many people. It was a wonderful experience for me.
I didn’t realize what a difference it could make until my mom who is anemic got in a car accident last year and needed blood. It was only a small amount that she needed, maybe 1/3 of a pint, but it saved her life. Coincidentally, they had to stop drawing my blood at our school drive after they had collected only 1/3 of a pint, the exact same amount my mom had received, because I became lightheaded. I am anemic also. I really wanted to continue, but they told me I had to stop. Even so, that evening, I took a nap and then went off to work [as a waitress] until 4:00 AM. I drank a lot of water and felt fine. There I was at work that night telling all my customers about it and they were all sharing their blood stories and showing off their donor cards! I am so proud of myself, and I even have posted photos of me with the purple armband on my MySpace page and I’ve been instant messaging all my friends about my experience.
I kept saying to myself ‘I want to do this’ – I didn’t want not to do it. They [the phlebotomists] kept checking me as I was donating. And even though I felt a little light-headed, I still wanted to go through with it. Having my classmates there who were supportive made it a really nice experience. It didn’t hurt and it didn’t even take long.
I was hesitant at first, but when I sat down and actually thought about it and realized I could be helping someone, even a family member, in need, that I could help save their children – that I could be a part of that â€“ the feeling that I was helping someone was so meaningful to me. I had been asked before and never did it, until it was explained here [at Allen School] how it really helps. I realized I could be a part of it, and then it became something that I really wanted to do. I felt supported by my classmates. It turned out to be a really good thing to do.
I attempted to give and went through the entire process, but I had forgotten my ID at home. I decided to go back home and get it [two hours round trip]. And then, after all that, because I am anemic, they couldn’t take my donation! I wanted to cry. I felt really sad. You see, I love my father from the bottom of my heart and he has diabetes. I was thinking that if something happened to him, I just know somebody would have the decency to donate blood for him. He is the only person I have here in this country. Even though I went all the way home and came all the way back and couldn’t donate, I still feel good that I was part of the experience that day.
To be eligible to donate blood and platelets, you must
-over 17 years of age
-weigh at least 110 pounds
-not have donated whole blood within the last 56 days
-not have a fever or active infection