One Mississippi. Two Mississippi.
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.
On October 31st, the Oyster River Red Cross Club is hosting a blood drive from 10:00am to 4:00pm in the Oyster River High School Multi-Purpose Room. Students sixteen years old and older have the opportunity to save lives in less than an hour without taking additional time out of their weekends or after school. The donated blood is delivered to hospitals to be used for surgical procedures, traumatic injuries, cancer patients, and more.
According to the Red Cross website, only 38% of the population is able to donate blood, and of those people, only 10% actually donate. Additionally, the website states that, “one donation can potentially save up to three lives.” Because blood and platelets can only be created within the body, it is imperative that those who are able to donate participate in blood drives whenever possible.
Donors do not need an appointment to donate, but priority will be given to those with a scheduled appointment. To secure a time slot for the blood drive, schedule an appointment online at redcrossblood.org. Most blood donations take less than an hour from check in to check out, including a brief, confidential interview and a snack while you rest after. The actual donation only take from 8-10 minutes as stated on the American Red Cross website.
Kathy Pearce, ORHS librarian and advisor for the school’s Red Cross Club, explained some of the restrictions that the Red Cross places to ensure a high quality of blood and safety for the donor. “Especially for people under [the age of 18], there’s really strict height and weight limits and other things like when you last donated, whether or not you’ve had a tattoo recently, certain countries you’ve visited, so it’s best to check. The people at the sign up table have all that information,” said Pearce.
For 16-year old donors, a signed parental permission slip can be found here and must be brought to the donation center. Additional information regarding requirements can be viewed here or at the Red Cross table.
Pearce added, “an important thing for potential donors to know is that they should drink lots of water for a couple days leading up to the drive, and should eat iron-rich foods. It makes the donation experience much easier.”
Cam Schiavo (‘19) signed up to donate blood for the first time at the October 31st drive. As commonly shared concern for many students, Schiavo wasn’t sure if he would be donate because of the needles, but after an experience at a doctor’s office, he decided that he would give it a shot. “If you have the time, I would definitely [donate] because it’s helping a good cause. I know I’m going to try to get some of my friends to do it as well,” said Schiavo.
Mackenzie Brum (‘20), the President of the Red Cross Club at ORHS, talked about how she can understand why some would be nervous before donating, but encourages all to get more information. “I can understand how [donating] can be nerve wracking but it’s only 15 minutes and if you are even the slightest bit uncomfortable, you can back out at any time or receive help from any of the volunteers,” said Bruhm. She added, “you are doing it for a very great cause and giving opportunity to someone who couldn’t live without it.”
Both Pearce and Bruhm are not able to donate blood, but are very passionate about the organization. Pearce explained her attachment, saying, “my mom actually, the last four months of her life, she actually had a very high quality of life and got to see some pretty big milestones in our family because of blood donors.” She added that she accepted the position of club advisor the day after her mother passed.
Bruhm, whose family has a history of cancer and other illnesses, has made her understand how crucial blood donations are. “Without [these donations], my family wouldn’t have been able to receive the care they needed. That’s why I’m so thankful for all those that donated to help us and hope to return the favor by organizing the blood drive,” said Bruhm.
“This particular blood drive will have free t-shirts for donors,” said Peace, adding that the Red Cross members will be dressed as vampires to add to the Halloween festivities.
“I’m very excited to kick off this year with a themed blood drive and how the popularity of the club can continue to grow. We’re always accepting new members and hope to gain even more this year,” said Brum, adding that the club’s goal for this drive is 40 units of blood.
To sign up for a time to donate or for additional information, visit the American Red Cross website at https://www.redcrossblood.org or talk with a member of the ORHS Red Cross Club.