By 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 18, more than 40 students, teachers and Red Cross members filled the gymnasium as more filed outside, waiting for admittance. Starting at 7:20 a.m, students from StuCo and National Honors Society worked together with the Red Cross to set up for incoming blood donations.
RBHS “needed someone to be the go-between for the school and Red Cross and I had experience. I really enjoyed doing [the blood drive last time], so I really wanted to help lead it,” senior Stephen Turban said. “Seeing the [student] support we have, we can definitely do it spring semester, especially since more people will be 16 or 17 by then, but it’s all up in the air.”
Turban, NHS member and StuCo representative, coordinated the last blood drive RBHS hosted two years ago and decided to lead this year’s as well. He contacted Craig Jackson, a donor recruitment representative for the Red Cross, and the two of them, along with Activities Director David Bones, found a date both RBHS and the Red Cross could do the blood drive, something that had stopped the drive from happening last year.
The blood drive “is something we try to do every year at least once a year with the school,” Jackson said, “We couldn’t work out dates that worked out with the Red Cross and the school at the same time, so that’s a reason there wasn’t a blood drive [last year.] That’s why this year it’s in the fall instead of the spring, because there was a date that worked.”
The lack of a blood drive last year encouraged students who didn’t have a chance to donate last year to give it a try. Senior Paige Selman, a first time donor, was stopped her sophomore year from donating blood and has wanted to donate blood since.
The blood drive “is a great opportunity because high school students are really busy and so if you make it more convenient for them, I think you’ll get more of them to actually participate and do it,” Selman said. RBHS “didn’t do [ the blood drive] last year, and the year before that, I was two weeks too young. I really wanted to do it. I just wanted to try it because I think it’s a really good cause and to go and help people who need blood.”
For students not qualified to give blood, they still had the opportunity to help out with the drive by manning the sign in tables and taking care of patients after they donated blood. Participants from StuCo and NHS filled the slots for volunteering throughout the first three hours.
“It’s the first time I’ve helped with a blood drive, and it’s really cool,” senior student council member Annie Rumpf said. “I am stationed at the table where everyone comes after they’ve given blood, and my job [is] to sit them down and get some fluids and food into them, and it’s my job to ring the bell if anyone looks like they’re going to faint.”
To prevent students from fainting or falling ill after they donate blood, Red Cross workers enforced weight, height, age and other health guidelines throughout the day, turning away multiple students. While the goal of the Red Cross today was to raise 114 pints of blood – which means having 114 successful donors – having strict precautions may hurt the overall turnout.
“We will hopefully reach [our goal of 114 pints,]” Jackson said. “We have enough people present, but our deferrals – people who have been turned away for travel, iron, blood pressure, things like that – will hurt a little bit. I do think we’ll probably reach it, but it’s too early to tell.”
By Daphne Yu