Blood drive impacts 186 lives

By: Mikaela Malin

Cedar Falls High School hosted its 12th annual blood drive on Tuesday, March 10 in partnership with Lifeserve Blood Center, resulting in a total donation of seven units of blood over its four-hour span. A total of 93 students volunteered to give, with an additional four to six students volunteering to work each class period.

Senior Annika Jepsen was the first donor to give from the high school on Tuesday morning. She has donated for three years through the CFHS blood drives. “I feel like I’m just giving back. Less blood is donated than plasma because donors get paid for donating plasma, but blood is just as needed,” she said.

And it is. It is likely that almost everyone will be in need of a blood transfusion at some point in his or her life, especially premature babies, cancer patients, burn or automobile accident victims, and those undergoing heart surgery, organ transplants or bone marrow transplants. The good news is that three of these lives are saved with every pint of blood donated, and that donation is easy.

Donors age 16 and up weighing at least 120 pounds are eligible to participate in the hour-long donation process. After on-site registration, donors undergo a quick mini-physical. Their heart rates, blood pressures, temperatures and hemoglobin levels are measured to ensure it is safe for them to donate. Then the actually donation process begins. It can range from five to 10 minutes. Donors are encouraged to continually squeeze a stress ball or practice AMT muscle tension technique to keep blood flowing normally. After about a pint has been collected, donors are allowed to rest, receiving snacks and water to avoid dizziness. In any case of light-headedness, multiple Lifeserve Blood Center trained nurses are available for assistance.

Biology teacher Marcy Hand and counselor Erin Gardner highly encourage students to participate in future CFHS blood drives. Hand said, “It’s a great opportunity that this is offered at the high school. I don’t think most students know how needed blood is, and nobody wants to think about what it would be like to run out of blood. It’s the perfect opportunity to pay forward because you never know when you’ll be on the other end in need of donations.” Gardner said, “Blood is always in need. It’s not something you can just make; it has to be donated. We want to encourage students to give blood. It’s a way they can give back to their community.”

Anyone interested in giving back to their community through hosting a blood drive should contact Lifeserve Blood Center. A $750 scholarship is available to any current senior who hosts their own drive though a church or other local organization. Also, any current senior who donates a gallon of blood or more by May 1 is eligible to receive “Gallon Grad” honor cords to wear at graduation. Additionally gallon grads will receive a certificate, letter of accomplishment and publication in the local newspaper.

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