Sponsored by the Beta Club, the biannual Red Cross Blood Drive is taking place at Cedar Shoals Thursday, Oct. 21, and it’s more important than ever that students, staff and their families donate.
Donations are crucial this year as the Red Cross is going through a severe blood shortage because of the lack of donations during the pandemic.
Science teacher and Beta Club sponsor Mary Zimpfer explains that it’s important for students to donate because their blood is healthier.
“Young people haven’t been exposed to some of the sicknesses and don’t have the antibodies in their blood. That makes it better for newborns and kids,” Zimpfer said.
The blood donation process takes about an hour, but the donation itself takes about ten minutes. Donors’ temperature, blood pressure, hemoglobin, and pulse will be checked. Donors will have a needle inserted into their arm and will have time to relax while the bag is filling. When a pint of blood has been collected, a bandage will be placed on the donor’s arm. Donors will stay for another 10-15 minutes to give the body time to adjust and will be given snacks.
Donors must meet basic eligibility requirements in order to donate blood. Male donors must be 5’ or taller, and female donors 5’6’’ and taller must weigh at least 110 pounds. There are additional weight requirements for those who are shorter than these heights. There are also certain medications that will prevent someone from donating blood.
Blood donation is a completely safe and healthy process. There are potential side effects, which can include nausea, dizziness or fatigue. To help avoid these side effects, donors should drink plenty of water and eat iron-rich foods before and after donating. Examples of iron-rich foods include meat, vegetables, fruit, seafood, and bread.
Students who are 16 and older can donate but will need a signed permission form from a parent or guardian. The forms are available in Zimpfer’s room (A113) and must be returned by Oct. 20. Donors will receive an electronic coupon for a free Zaxby’s sandwich, a T-shirt and snacks.
Donors will need to bring a photo ID. They can donate anytime from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm in the AB-200 commons area. Zimpfer wants donors to remember to drink water, eat iron-rich foods and sleep well before donating.
“You need to eat and drink before you participate. If you are dehydrated, then your blood flows slowly and it takes longer, giving it time to clot and you might not be able to fill a bag,” Zimpfer said.
Sophomore India Collins is volunteering to help with the drive. She is in charge of permission forms and making sure that students get them signed and turned in. Collins encourages students to spread the word and raise awareness for the drive by posting on social media and telling friends and classmates about donating.
“It gets them involved in what’s happening around school and what’s happening in the country that they’re living in,” Collins said.
Collins also believes that it’s important for students to donate, especially because of the blood shortage and pandemic.
“We’re helping our nation the best way we can. We’re teenagers, so we can’t really do a lot and can’t become nurses overnight, but we can give blood. We’re trying to encourage everyone that can to do so,” Collins said.