By Rodin Batcheller
On Nov. 3, the annual Red Cross Blood Drive took place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the small gym. Every year, Gabrielino High School‘s Associated Student Body (ASB) coordinates with the American Red Cross and the Gabrielino Red Cross Club to carry out this event.
From the participation of 154 students, faculty, and parent donors, 117 pints of blood in total were donated by the end of the drive, just short of last year’s 122 pints. According to ASB’s advisor, Yvonne Aparicio, the drive saves about 360 lives per year.
All ASB members volunteered throughout the day along with five members of the Red Cross Club helping each period, working to set up and take down the equipment for the drive. Twenty nurses from the American Red Cross volunteered at the drive as well.
There were two options potential donors could sign up for, the first being to donate one pint of blood, which is the typical amount. The second option was to donate enough blood to treat two patients through a device called the Alyx machine. This machine returns the donor’s platelets and plasma back into their blood stream with a smaller needle.
This year, more students chose the second, more time-consuming option, which slowed down the donation process. Although one of the machines broke down, the majority of those who signed up were able to give blood.
“I was excited that I was finally old enough to donate [as a universal donor],” said junior Kate Correnti. “I felt joy knowing that I was helping others through this experience.”
Before donating, a nurse reviews the donor’s eligibility, asks questions about the donor’s health history, and administers a mini-physical in which the donor’s temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and hemoglobin level are checked.
The actual donation of blood consists of inserting a sterile needle into the donor’s arm to draw blood while the donor lays down on a cot. After donating, nurses encourage donors to have a snack and a refreshment along with a 10 to 15 minute rest before returning to daily activities.
There are, however requirements that must be met by a donor candidate before he or she is able to donate blood, such as a minimum height and weight. Many students were turned away because of these requirements, but Aparicio was still satisfied with the results.
“I’m always happy overall with the amount of students That dedicate and try [donating], even if they’ve never given blood before,” said Aparicio. “It’s a nice feeling to see all the students that come in and the teachers that are very supportive of it.”