by Abby Beauregard, Raleigh Norris, Lacee Getter

With the arrival of the Red Cross’s table at lunch, of-age students began to flock over in hopes of signing up for the school’s annual blood drive.

“I decided to give blood because it is an easy way to get plugged into the community and serve those in need,” junior Jesse Tompkins said. “The school blood drive provides students with an outlet to save lives, which in my opinion, is one of the most beneficial things one can do for his community.”

Students are welcome to sign up, provided that they meet the guidelines set in place by the Red Cross. Students must be 16 to donate with a parent’s permission but can donate at 17 without.

“When we give blood to someone, usually they’re sick, so we need for them to be healthy, so we need to get blood from healthy people so we can keep the people we are giving blood to healthy,” Red Cross account manager Rolanda Hankins said.
In addition to being healthy, there are also certain height and weight restrictions in place, because the donors are mostly underage. However, don’t be discouraged: as donating is something one can, and should, do for a lifetime.

“The reason I do it here is so hopefully I can be an example and a role model to the students. I think it’s really important to give back to the community, to others who are in need. I myself have experienced various health issues and it’s really nice when you need something, there are donors there to step in and help you out,” Assistant Principal Sarah Longshore said.

The Red Cross even tries to streamline the process for teachers and new donors, in hopes of drawing more people (and blood).

“We try to make it convenient because we know everybody is very busy. We come to the schools because we think it teaches community involvement, giving back to the community, it teaches them leadership and that this is the right thing to do. So that’s why we try to go to the high schools,” Hankins said.

With the talk of blood, comes the discussion of *gulp* needles. Well, there’s an easier said than done way to get over that.

“A lot of people are afraid to give blood because they said they are afraid of needles, but what I tell them is that the only way we can get blood is from each other, and if you give blood you can save up to three lives, and that little stick doesn’t matter,” Hankins said.

“Think about your loved ones, if your mom or dad or your child needs blood, and they’re in a car accident, you don’t have time to give blood then, so you need to give blood while you can so the blood supply stays strong and it’ll will have enough blood, and it’ll always be there for everybody,” Hankins said.

If that’s not convincing, students can also get out of class and, rumor has it, there is food involved. Plus, students can feel good about your decision to save lives.

“Giving blood is not for everyone, but if you are able to and needles don’t freak you out, you should definitely give. A simple blood donation can save three lives, so it’s almost selfish to not donate if you are perfectly able,” Jesse said. “Giving blood makes you feel like hero afterward since you are making a difference in your community.”