Students help people in need via blood drive

Aniya+King%2C+senior%2C+donates+blood+at+the+blood+drive.

Photo by Gabriel Souza

Aniya King, senior, donates blood at the blood drive.

Gabriel Souza, Editor in Chief

As the school year progresses, students and staff are presented with more ways to give back to their community. At the Nov. 17 blood drive, various OHS students and staff donated blood, benefiting countless lives. The blood drive was put on by OHS’s student government in partnership with Vitalant, a non-profit organization.

Blood donations are a vital aspect of the nation’s healthcare system; without them, hospitals wouldn’t be able to perform life saving operations on patients.

“It’s a good way for us to help our community,” said Greg Wieking, senior recruitment representative at Vitalant. “[Hospitals] can’t get blood from anywhere else, [they] can’t buy it online, [they] can’t go down to Walmart and get it that way, it has to come from a freewill donation.”

As less and less people donate blood each year, healthcare institutions struggle to meet a growing demand for blood.

“Only 40% … of our populace can donate, however, only 10% of that actually give [blood],” Wieking said. “It’s a very small and declining number of donors which makes it all that much important because we’re actually seeing the opposite in the need for transfusions.”

With the need for blood donations increasing and the number of donors decreasing, those who donate are encouraged to do so multiple times per year.

“The need for blood is going up, but our actual donors are going down,” Wieking said. “That’s why it’s important to donate more than one time a year.”

By helping as many as three people, one blood donation can make a large impact.

“Every donation helps out three individuals,” Wieking said. “Your red blood cells will go to one patient, your plasma will go to another, and your platelets will go to someone else who’s in need of a transfusion.”

OHS students heard of the opportunity to donate blood through different means, and were glad to help the people in need.

“I’m trying to get service hours for NHS and when I heard about this opportunity it seemed like a really great way to help other people,” said Kate Sheppard, junior.

The demand for blood donations is always high, making it urgent for more people to donate.

“There’s a big need for blood donations,” said Carrie Ballou, math teacher and STUGO advisor. “Greg [Wieking] just told me that they were down to a one-day supply. There’s always a need for people to be giving blood.”

With the constant shortage of blood, many find that donating blood is a simple way to help people in their community.

“For me, I think it’s an easy way to give back to your community,” Ballou said. “I have no problem with giving, I think, 500 milliliters of blood. You just grow it right back, so it’s a nice easy way to give back.”

With knowing that one blood donation can help three people, many are encouraged to donate.

“There’s a lot of people who need blood all the time, that’s never something that’s going away,” Sheppard said. “Knowing that I could give 20 minutes of my time and help save three different lives [is] really cool.”