Shortage evokes donations; Students give blood

ANNA FITZHUGH, Reporter / Business Manager

As the holiday season is fast approaching, the American Red Cross has issued an “urgent call for blood and platelet donations.”Following 21,000 fewer donations than normal, the need for blood is becoming critical.
North Harford High School hosted a blood drive this October. Organized by Ms. Beth Martin, in association with the American Red Cross, the blood drive had 70 spots to fill. 10 of the spots for community members, and 60 for students/staff. Normally, North Harford organizes 2 blood drives each school year; one in the fall and one in spring. Last year, only a fall blood drive was held. “We didn’t have as good of a turnout last year. This time, however, we had almost every single spot filled,” Martin claims. “Our goal was met and we exceeded the number of donors expected.”
Student donors included mainly upperclassmen due to the age restriction. Martin states, “underclassmen have shown interest, but you have to be at least 16 to be considered.” According to the American Red Cross, donating blood also requires a donor be in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds, and have waited 56 days to give blood since the last donation.
Juniors Isabella Messick, Olivia VanHorn and Kara Benn describe their desire to give blood as “wanting to help other people, and thinking donating is good thing to do for the community”. Benn and her friends decided to donate blood as a group, and “all signed up together.” VanHorn explains her motivation to donate blood is personal. “Before my great grandfather died, he received a lot of blood transfusions, and I realized how important giving blood can be.” While VanHorn saw first hand where blood donations can go, Senior Eden Giles attests “After donating last year, I received an email saying that my blood went to and helped somebody else, so it made me want to do it again.”
Although motivated to contribute to the blood drive, fear of needles and losing blood frighten many students; last year, Giles claims she was, “sweating so bad, and was so nervous, her heart rate made it that she almost couldn’t donate blood.” Nerves of Giles were handled by “Breathing deeply and not looking at the needle as they put it in”. After telling the nurse her heart rate was just high because she was nervous, she was able to donate blood. Messick was also nervous about the needle, and insists, “Although terrified of needles, I figured helping other people would help motivate me to get over my fear.”
Despite 12 deferrals, 32 students, 10 teachers, and 6 community members contributed in helping 93 people in the area with their blood needs. Interested in donating? Mark your calendars, March 15 is the next blood drive.Anna Fitzhugh