On October 31, 2017, Cedar hosted its Red Cross blood drive, with a total of 32 units of blood being donated. This drive is one of the major community projects that Cedar hosts, along with Relay For Life. Run by BETA club, the blood drive is an effort of giving back to the community and ones in need.
“We are usually a county in need which is why it is so important that we donate blood,” said Mrs. Mary Lynn Zimpfer, BETA club sponsor.
The blood is taken by the Red Cross and delivered to local hospitals in need. These drives have become an important part of Cedar’s culture allowing students to advertise the service that the school does for the Athens community.
“We’re providing something we need and benefitting our area because we are giving blood that our community uses. The blood is there because we contributed,” said Zimpfer.
Because blood is a critical need for patients, it is crucial that people are continuously donating so hospitals always have blood on hand.
“Every two seconds, a person in the United States needs a blood transfusion. One donation every person gives, which is a pint of blood, can help save up to three lives which is why it is so important to donate,” said Rebecca Soto, Red Cross representative.
“I know I need to donate because of the lives being saved. It doesn’t cost you anything and it only takes about an hour out of your day,” Soto said.
Zimpfer believes the drive benefits students by allowing them to recognize the importance of providing for the community.
“I think it’s helpful for our students to understand that they can do something that is beneficial,” she said. “When you are a kid, everyone takes care of you, but when you grow up, you have to start taking care of everybody else.”
Students are aware of the value blood has on the community.
“I was actually nervous beforehand, but it feels good knowing you are donating and you could be saving a person’s life who really needs it,” said Madelyn Timmons, 11th grade.
“It was a sort of overjoyed feeling. I felt the need to donate because I wanted to give back to my world and my community and the people around me.” said Andrew BeMent, 11th grade.
To donate blood you must be at least 16 years of age, and you must have a form signed by your parents or guardian if you’re under 18. You must weigh a certain amount according your your height. Medications, tattoos, piercings illnesses or travels outside of the United States can defer you from being able to donate blood.
The process of donating blood includes a questioning segment where each donor is asked certain questions about their health. Once a donor is claimed eligible to donate, blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and hemoglobin are checked to make sure the blood is transferable to a recipient.
The next blood drive will be on February 1 at Cedar Shoals. Although she believes the last one was a success, Zimpfer hopes the next drive will bring a greater turnout.
“I hope that there will be more students that sign up and come, and I hope that this article will encourage people to donate. I want people to realize that donating is not scary or hard and for them to recognize that it really is a benefit to their community,” she said.