Blood drive attracts 57 donors

On Thursday, Nov. 3, many members of the Westminster community saved hundreds of lives. Students and teachers alike “braved the needle” and participated in the semiannual blood drive benefitting the Red Cross.

“It just feels nice to give blood,” said senior Maritza Padilla. “Afterward you just feel a little bit weird. It’s really hard to explain, but you feel nice that you gave blood and you’re helping someone out.”

With parental permission, students 16 and older signed up in the community service office to donate. Prior to the drive, students underwent a mini-physical and were asked questions concerning their health history. The actual procedure of giving blood was quick, yet still extremely consequential, as one donation can save up to three different people.

At each blood drive, the school aims to collect 50 pints of blood, which requires about seventy to eighty donations. The blood is donated to the Red Cross, where it is then distributed throughout the metro Atlanta area in hospitals such as Grady, Piedmont, and Emory.

The American Red Cross was founded in 1881 and has since been the premier humanitarian volunteer organization in the country. It not only handles blood donations but are also the first responders to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “The Red Cross is in constant need of blood” said community service coordinator Stan Moor. “One of the problems in hospitals, clinics, and other medical places is they are always in need of blood for operations or transfusions or accidents that people have. There’s a critical need for people to donate.”

Many students stepped up to give blood for the first time.

“A lot of people have encouraged me,” said junior Alex Ostrow before his appointment to donate. “I’m looking forward to the experience, it’s my first time.”

“I was very nervous. . . . I hate blood and I hate needles,” said junior Ansley Griffith, another first-time giver. “It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. The food at the end was nice, along with the sticker!”

Students and teachers alike participated in the effort. Brooks Batcheller, sophomore boys grade chair and AP U.S. History teacher, has been giving blood for a number of years.

“I first started giving blood in college” said Batcheller. “I’d absolutely recommend it—it’s not nearly as scary as people make it out to be, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to do a lot of good.”

Many in the high school, however, were either too young to participate, or were ineligible due to travel restrictions, having visited certain developing countries makes students unable to donate for a year. Many still found ways to help, however.

“There’s lots of ways to support the drive personally” said Moor. “We need people to help set up, people to come and help unload the truck, and also people to help work in the canteen passing out juice and cookies after people have donated.”

The drive attracted 57 donors and generated a total of 48 pints of bloods, nearly reaching the goal of 50 pints. The next blood drive is April 12, 2012, and, with support, will raise even more blood from students, teachers, and faculty alike.

“We want anybody eligible to donate,” said Moor. “We want to get as many people as possible to come give us some blood!”