BY ELENA VALDEZ
In the season of giving, it’s not only canned goods and non-perishables that need donating.
On both November 29 and November 30, CCHS’s Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) will be hosting a blood drive throughout the day in cooperation with the not-for-profit organization One Blood.
“All it takes is a little of your time, and you can save lives,” the One Blood mission statement said.
To participate in the drive, students 16 and older must obtain a consent form in the front office and complete it with a parent signature. Students willing to donate must also meet the minimum 110-pound requirement. The blood provided must come back clean, meaning no abnormalities or infectious diseases can be present. If the blood comes back with any of the aforementioned characteristics, the student’s legal guardian will be contacted if the donor is less than 17 years old.
In order to ensure the blood is disposable, a small prick of the finger is administered and tested for anemia. In addition to the prick of the finger, the donor is subjected to a brief interview in which they will be asked about their medical history, current health status and sexual history– which is sensitive material, but it is imperative that the truth is told as other people are dependent on donated blood. The information is confidential but necessary.
The first donation also tests for a plethora of infectious diseases (diseases that can be transmitted through mixing blood), such as Hepatitis B, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), West Nile Virus and the Trypanosoma Cruzi Antibody. Blood pressure, temperature and other vitals will be taken before the donation.
“It’s important to give blood,” junior Eryn Cameron said. “It makes the donor feel good. They may have just saved a life.”
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recommends that donors take certain precautions that will improve the quality of the blood soon to be donated. Avoiding fat-filled foods and replacing them with food high in iron makes it easier for the blood to be taken. Drinking a lot of water, juice or other non-alcoholic beverages before the donation aids in expanding the veins. A good night’s sleep is beneficial as well.
According to the American Red Cross, nearly 38 percent of Americans can donate blood but less than 10 percent do so. Volunteers who donate blood are an essential part of the medical community. Regularly giving blood helps to maintain the supply for those who need it.
Photo by The Lariat Photography