Seniors and teachers made their way to the New Gym throughout the day on Dec. 5, to donate blood for patients in need at Mercy Hospital.
National Honor’s Society’s sponsor Nicholas Kirschman helped to organize the fall blood drive along with NHS president senior David Rapp.
Flyers were posted around the school to remind students of the drive, and NHS members spread awareness of the event by talking to other students throughout the week. Their goal was to have a total of 80 people give blood; around 60 people did.
“I’ve been doing NHS for 13 years, and this blood drive was going on before then,” Kirschman said. “Our schedule moved very fast this year, so some students were called down earlier than ever.”
To be able to give blood, students had to be seniors, weigh over 115 pounds, be off any non-prescription drugs and have no tattoos. Every needle was used once and discarded; the blood drawn was taken to Mercy Hospital for blood transfusions and other patient needs. Patients dealing with transplant, cancer, trauma, anemia, and open-heart surgery often need these transfusions to survive.
Blood donors filled out paperwork, had their finger pricked to check that their blood was healthy, had a pint of blood drawn and were given a free bottled drink, snack, red T-shirt and pamphlets from the American Red Cross. Donors also had stress balls to hold onto, and NHS volunteers circulated around the gym to talk to them and relieve any anxieties.
Senior Muna Abdella-Hazak volunteered to work at the blood drive because she had experience with them and wanted to help others out.
“Volunteers and blood donors here don’t know how much of an effect they have on the organization, but really there’s more to it. I think we’re making a great difference,” Abdella-Hazak said.
According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds an American needs a blood transfusion. Despite the fact that 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood every year, fewer than 10 percent actually do.
“Maybe every couple of years we have someone who goes down; there’s always people who just can’t donate that day. Once in a while people don’t react well to it. Last year we had 80 people show up to give blood, and 60 people be able to do it,” Kirschman explained.
On average, about one fifth of the senior class chooses to donate. A considerable number of others opt out of donating for fear of pain and the needles that inflict it. The specific name for this is trypanophobia; about one of every five people has some degree of this phobia stimulated from needles and injections.
“If I donated my blood, I’m sure I would pass out,” senior Brian Dugan stated.
Senior Reilly Thompson said, “It’s always good to have this kind of program for people with diseases that cause them to need this blood. I feel like it’s for a really good cause, but of course if you have a fear of needles, then the drive probably isn’t for you. I’m very nervous; I have a slight fear of needles. I just hate the feeling of the injection and it going through your arm…blahurrrg!”
At least three other seniors who were talked to held the same opinion.
The next blood drive is sponsored by Student Council and will occur in the spring.