Student Council helps community through blood drive

Memorial Blood Centers collects donations


Anika Hanson

Senior Bella Birkeland donates blood in C350 during the Memorial Blood Center's blood drive. The phlebotomists made sure everyone that donated felt comfortable and at ease while donating.

Emma Leff, Anika Hanson

Student Council adviser Sarah Lindenberg said Student Council partners with Memorial Blood Centers to host four blood drives every year. Park held their second blood drive of the year during the school day on Dec. 3, according to Lindenberg.

“We have four (blood drives) throughout the year. For each one, the Student Council members recruit people to donate blood at lunches and in classes and … through social media,” Lindenberg said.

According to Lindenberg, donating blood is a significant and accessible way to give back to the community.

“(It is important to donate blood) to help the community in a very tangible and pretty harmless, easy way,” Lindenberg said. “We have directly been impacted by situations at Park that have needed a big blood supply for various reasons, so you kind of feel like you are giving back and helping other people out in those circumstances.”

Fred Rose, an employee of Memorial Blood Centers who attended the blood drive, said blood banks need a consistent supply of new blood due to blood’s relatively short shelf life.

“Donating blood is very important as … we can only store it for 42 days,” Rose said. “We always have a need (for donations).”

According to Lindenberg, Memorial Blood Centers held a blood typing event on Nov. 28 to let students see what blood type they were and to increase participation in the blood drive.

“A couple of employees from Memorial Blood Centers came and … I think they just did a finger prick to get a blood sample. They were able to tell you on the spot your blood type,” Lindenberg said. “We were able to fill up the whole schedule that way rather than having to do the recruitment at lunch.”

Student Council co-president Cailey Hansen-Mahoney said there are several requirements donors must meet to be eligible to donate blood.

“If you are 16 years old, you need a (parent-signed) permission slip, but if you are 17 or 18, you do not,” Hansen-Mahoney said. “There are a lot of restrictions around if you have had shots recently, the medicine you are taking, where you have traveled and (your health history).”

According to Rose, once the age of the donor is confirmed, the interview process begins and although there are a lot of requirements, donating blood is not very difficult.

“They are going to ask you a number of personal questions and if all that checks out, the phlebotomist will do a quick health history with you,” Rose said. “If all that checks out, they will bring you over and sit you on the bed. They will swab your arm and stick you with the needle, it only hurts for a second … and 10 minutes later you will have donated (a) pint of blood.”

Senior Bryan Huynh, who donated blood at the drive, said the Memorial Blood Centers’ staff helped make his first time giving blood a positive experience.

“It was really fun. The nurses were super helpful and friendly,” Huynh said.

According to Hansen-Mahoney, high schools are full of possible donors who can help their communities, which motivates Park to host blood drives.

“We host a blood drive because Memorial Blood Centers relies a lot on high schools for blood donations. They told us they get around a quarter of their donations from high schools,” Hansen-Mahoney said. “We are some of the healthiest people in America, and this is a great way to give back to communities.”