By: Senior Arlissa Brock and junior Andrea Cruse
Thurston High School hosts the American Red Cross every year for their annual blood drive, but Thurston goes above and beyond by hosting the event twice within a school year: one in December and one in March. Donating blood gives us a chance to save people’s lives. The American Red Cross shows up at 6:30am and with the help of student council students, Thurston’s media center is transformed into a blood donation center, with eager students older than 16 coming in to donate blood.
Each donor donates about one pint of blood; equivalent to a 16 ounce water bottle. Donating a pint of blood can save up to three lives, with the donor’s blood being broken down into hemoglobin, platelets and individual red blood cells. When someone gets into a severe car accident, almost 100 pints of blood are needed per person (www.redcrossblood.org). There are many requirements to donate blood, with the main one being that the donor is at least 16 years old. 16 year olds can donate blood with their parent’s consent, but 17 and 18 year olds can choose to donate on their own.
“It’s my second time donating blood and I’ll happily do it again next year,” said junior Katie Rozmys. “This blood drive was better the second time since I knew what to expect. ”
Thurston’s Student Council sets up the blood drive, posting sign ups during lunch between February 22nd until March 4th.
“Setting up for the blood drive is definitely stressful at times, but it pays off in the end, knowing we contributed to a good cause,” said head chair junior Andrea Cruse.
In addition to being 16 years old, the donor’s iron and hemoglobin counts must be above a 12.5. This blood drive was a little more hectic than in December, with so many students deferred due to low hemoglobin and iron counts.
“I was very upset that I couldn’t donate blood,” said junior Maggie Young, who was deferred from donating blood because of low iron.
After students donate blood, they’re escorted to the snack table, where the students will rest for 15-20 minutes while drinking juice and eating snacks to boost their blood sugar levels, and fluid levels in their body. Students who donated blood are not allowed to participate in any physical or vigorous activities for the rest of the day and are encouraged to drink tons of water so no side effects are experienced. The “I donated” or even “I tried” stickers are the best part of the day for many.
Thurston’s dedication with partnering with the American Red Cross will continue every year. If you are someone who would like the chance to save a life, visit http://www.redcrossblood.org.