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Saving Lives a Pint at a Time: Hersey's Annual Blood Drive

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Saving Lives a Pint at a Time: Hersey's Annual Blood Drive

The blood drive has been an exciting event that has taken place in the Carter Gym for decades now,  but last year, due to COVID, the drive was actually held virtually. Students who had decided to donate last year had to go to Vitalant and donate blood there. But on November 17, Hersey was able to bring the long held tradition back into the building. 

“I’m really happy because we weren’t able to do anything, and the blood drive wasn’t at Hersey anymore [because of COVID], and you had to go somewhere, so it’s nice to have it back here,” senior Sandra Park said. 

In previous years, the Service Over Self (SOS) Club had hosted and organized the blood drive bi-annually, but two years ago, as the Scrubs Club gained more and more members, the Scrubs Club took on the role of organizing the blood drive. Scrubs Club members take on a variety of roles to help make the blood drive successful. 

“Basically, we [Scrubs Club] were helping organize all of it like getting people to sign up. This year, we went to all the science classes to get all the juniors and seniors to do it, and we actually got a lot of people who signed up to do it. We’re just here [at the blood drive] signing people in, organizing them, and getting everyone the snacks and water they need,” senior Christina Sebastian said.

“We’ve been doing promotional videos during science classes for juniors and seniors. We’ve been going around and showing videos and telling people when sign ups start and that really helped us get a lot of people to donate and sign up for the blood drive. I feel like many people want to donate, but they don’t know how, so this is a great place for people to donate and have fun,” senior Soniya Ottayil added.

But unfortunately, the blood drive wasn’t able to run as smoothly as it had done in previous years. Because of COVID, there were some huge changes that took place.

“COVID had a huge impact just because of the blood shortage, so due to that shortage, that was one of the things we publicized. All of the executive board members went into all the Physics and AP science classes to promote it and that was one of their big sellings points to encourage people to sign up. Also because of COVID, an incredible number of staff have left, so because of that, they’re very short staffed, therefore, everything is taking a lot longer, and we’re not able to have as many donors,” Scrubs Club Sponsor Kelley Pataky said. 

Still, despite the repercussions of COVID, the turnout for this year was incredible. There were closer to 130 students who signed up during the first three days. In past years, around 120 students would sign up in the span of the week, including students who would drop in on the day of the blood drive. 

“This year, just the vast number of people willing to help is pretty darn amazing — tells us how amazing Hersey and the students are,” Pataky said.

Students who were unable to donate this year due to the staffing shortage are highly encouraged to donate blood during the spring drive. The spring blood drive will be held some time in March. Pataky also has high hopes for more staff in the spring drive, so the process for donating will be a lot quicker. With each student taking over an hour to donate this year, Pataky hopes to be donating at the same pace previous years went at. 

“Previously, it would take one 48 minute class period for a person to come in, get registered, donate, snack, and leave. Hopefully in the spring they’ll be back to that 48 minute time period, and we would love for anyone to come out again in the spring.”

The blood drive is a really great part of Hersey, and all students should seriously consider donating blood if they can. Especially with the national blood shortage this year, blood is needed now more than ever. The blood drive is a super easy and simple way to help save lives all around the world. Just donating one pint of blood can save 3 lives!

To donate, students need to be at least 16 year old with parental consent, at least 120 pounds, and have an iron level of 12.5 or higher. If you fulfill these requirements, Scrubs Club implores you to donate again next semester, especially if you weren’t able to this time around. If you just can’t wait until then, students are also able to visit and donate directly to Vitalant!