PHHS Red Cross hosted its annual Fall Blood Drive on Nov. 2 in the Library, inviting Vitalant Research Institute nurses, equipment and staff onto campus to harvest blood from 58 students and staff. Blood donations collected at Piedmont Hills will directly supply the 45 hospitals here in the Bay Area, according to Vitalant Donor Recruitment Representative Nick Hooks.
“100% of that blood comes from volunteer donors so if we don’t have donors like the ones here at Piedmont Hills, those patients don’t have a chance to see tomorrow,” said Mr. Hooks.
When it comes to life-saving transfusions, there is no substitute for blood, which is used to treat accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer, according to the Red Cross website.
“We’re always in a shortage, especially in the Bay Area, since there are so many people,” said Red Cross Co-President Mignon Lee.
By hosting their biannual blood drives, Red Cross helps to diminish that shortage and save lives. In fact, high school students are a very important demographic for Vitalant.
“They’re actually our largest source of blood. During the school year, about 35% of the blood supply comes from high school students, so it’s a really important aspect of what we do,” said Mr. Hooks. “Additionally, a lot of the people donating at these drives, it’s their first time donating so that is where we get our lifetime donors.”
Among the 58 donors, 40 were first-time donors. Students were pulled out of class from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. to donate blood in the Library bustling with Red Cross volunteers, Vitalant nurses and recovering donors. Donors were rewarded with a free T-shirt, as well as juice and snacks meant to help them recover lost iron and vitamins.
“I was very (nervous) because I hate needles, but it’s for a good cause, so I decided I’m just going to do it and stop being a wimp,” shared first-time donor Stacey Huang. “It’s a good experience. You get very pampered with all this food and you’re donating blood which helps others.”
“It’s really a magical experience to see how you can impact other people through something that you own,” said Red Cross Vice President Shannon Liu.
While the donation is a simple and safe procedure, Red Cross advises donors to follow certain precautions before and afterwards to stay healthy and prevent injury.
“They recommend eating a good breakfast, having salt, sleeping the night before, and staying hydrated,” explained Mignon.
According to the Red Cross website, nurses collect one pint of blood as well as several additional samples for testing. The blood is then processed, packaged and tested for blood type and infectious diseases. Finally, the blood is shipped off to hospitals where it is stored and available for use at any time.