This February, the Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School annual blood drive, hosted by Ms. Nill and the Health Club, collected enough donations to save over 300 lives.
This yer marked the blood drive’s 10th year. It aims to encourage eligible students to donate their blood for people with medical conditions that need it to survive. The process only takes about 40 minutes out of the student or teacher’s school day. As long as you are able to donate, it is a great way to give back to those in need.
Juniors, Seniors, and teachers were all encouraged to donate blood for this past blood drive. The drive took place in RFH’s auditorium, with screening on stage and donations right below. In order to donate, one must weigh at least 120 pounds and have a particularly clear medical history. People with specific exposures to illness or have engaged in high-risk activities are not eligible. Other restrictions include recent travel and low iron levels. Anyone over 17 can donate, but 16-year-olds must have their parent’s consent.
Right before a donation, one must be screened to make sure they are capable of giving healthy blood. A nurse or medical professional examines the donor and asks specific questions about their medical history. This is to make sure that donating blood is not hazardous to their health; specifically that the loss of blood won’t make them anemic. Blood samples are taken to identify blood types and further investigate medical history. Once all requirements are passed, the donor is ready to move on and give blood!
To give blood, the donor heads off the stage and is seated in a tilted chair. At RFH, blood is collected in whole donations. Whole donations are the most common method of collecting blood. It is simply the collecting of blood from the donor’s vein into a container. When blood is collected, it is stored in a flexible plastic bag held on top of a digital scale. The scale measures the blood and also sways up and down to keep it from clotting.
Each successful donation is one pint per donor. Ms. Nill, RFH’s school nurse and head of the Health Club, explained what happens to the blood once it is collected.
“The blood that is collected at the blood drive is taken back to the Central Jersey Blood Center where it is screened. In addition to blood typing, each unit undergoes a rigorous testing procedure to ensure its safety.”
Each pint of blood is separated into 3 components: red blood cells, which are used for surgery and trauma patients; platelets, used to treat cancer patients; and plasma, which is used to treat burn victims. Blood products also help premature babies, hemophiliacs and cardiac patients. Once blood is separated, it is provided to local hospitals for patients who need blood transfusions.
“The only way to keep and adequate supply of blood available to hospitals is for healthy individualsto donate,” stated Ms. Nill. Donations are recommended for any healthy donor, as each pint can save 3 lives. At RFH, there are normally about 80- 100 donors.
However, if you missed this February’s blood drive or you are interested in learning more about donating, visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/ or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733 2767).