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On Friday, November 17th, Steilacoom High School hosted a blood drive, where *65 students donated blood to Cascade Regional Blood Services, a nonprofit organization. The blood drive was hosted by SHS’s Key Club and organized by junior Yunyeong Jeong.

Each student took time out of their school day on Friday to donate about a pint of blood. Not all students could donate though, as they had to meet several criteria. To donate blood, a student had to be at least 16 years of age (those under 18 had to have signed permission from a parent or guardian), weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in good health- which was decided through a physical before the donation took place.

The donation process, from start to finish, lasted around 45 minutes. If students met the age and weight criteria, they had to take a survey regarding their medical history. They also received a short physical to determine if they were eligible health wise to give blood. The physical included checking the student’s pulse, blood pressure, temperature, and iron level. Unfortunately, not all students who signed up to give blood passed the physical and were therefore unable to donate. Some medications also rendered students unable to donate blood.   

Those who met all requirements had their blood drawn by a phlebotomist in a procedure that took 8-10 minutes. After a pint of blood was collected, students were held for 10 to 20 minutes before returning to school. In the minutes following their donation, they were observed to ensure there weren’t any complications from blood loss. Students were provided refreshments such as juice and cookies to replenish the nutrients lost. Some students reported feeling lightheaded or dizzy after their donation, but after consuming caloric food and liquid, it passed.

The blood donated by students was then shipped off to a lab to be tested and separated into different components: red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Each component serves a different purpose in terms of medicine. According to the Cascade Regional Blood Services website, red blood cells are used to replace blood loss during surgeries and trauma, platelets are used to stop or prevent bleeding during surgery and trauma, and plasma is used to stop bleeding and treat severe burns.

Cascade Regional Blood Services provides blood to local Multicare and Franciscan Health System hospitals. They also work with organizations on the national scene to provide blood to areas in need of relief during national disasters. Junior Yun Yung Jeong, the head organizer of the blood drive for Key Club, referenced Texas, Florida, and Mexico, adding, “I think some of the blood will go to the places that have been hit by hurricanes lately.”

While the blood drive was an overall success, there was some difficulty getting students to sign up to donate. Jeong commented, “We [Key Club] were shooting to get 90 students to donate blood this year. It was kind of hard though because a lot of upperclassmen go to the college so I couldn’t reach them to get them to sign up.”

Although Jeong did not quite meet the quota, she was able to get 65 students to sign up, equivalent to 65 pints of blood donated. Great job to all students who donated and/or volunteered!

*65 students signed up to donate blood. However, some students did not meet the health criteria and were therefore unable to donate blood.

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