Blood Drive Basics: How to Save Lives Like a Pro

Blood Drive Basics: How to Save Lives Like a Pro

Chloe Ruppert, Staff Writer

Who would have thought that some kids on February 8th will come to school with more blood than they will leave with?

Nationwide, about 14 million units of blood are donated each year. Many people do not know that 25% of the blood donated to the Suncoast Blood Bank comes from high school donors. This is huge. Students do not realize that every time they make a regular donation, their blood saves up to three lives.

“I have no idea when the blood drive is. All I know is that you save some lives and its coming next month” admits Junior Jake Flanders.

With the help of the Red Cross, Suncoast Blood Bank, and OneBlood, the most common blood donation questions have been answered.

When will the Suncoast Blood Bank be visiting ODA?

The blood-mobile will be coming on campus Monday February 8th- roughly a week and a half from now.

How old do you have to be to donate blood?

You have to be at least 16 years old to donate. If you are 16, you have to get a waiver signed by your parents saying that they are aware that you are donating. If you are 17 or older, you don’t need the parental consent and are welcome to donate if you are up to it.

What time of the day do I come to donate, and how long does it take?

During any of your free periods from 8:30 to 2:30. The process is roughly 10-15 minutes, depending on the person.

Should I eat differently before I give blood?

Before donating blood, Red Cross recommends that you eat a healthy and balanced meal to avoid feeling fatigued. After donating, it is wise to drink an extra 8oz. of water to help replenish your body faster.

Does it hurt?

When I made the decision to donate blood, this was my first question. According to Red Cross, the needle only hurts for a short second (kind of like a pinch) and then your body adjusts, and you cannot feel it for the duration of the donation.

If I do a sport, can I practice in the afternoon?

Honestly, it depends on the person. It is recommended that you don’t, because your body is trying to replenish the fluid it lost during the donation. However, if you think that your coach will let you take it easy and you can’t miss, that’s your call.

What impact do I make by donating?

The blood you donate goes to many different people in need, all with different, dire situations. It goes to people in heart surgery, getting organ transplants, and cancer patients.

Is there any personal benefit for donating?

Yes, actually! Studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology revealed that blood donors are 88% less likely to suffer a heart attack and 33% less likely to suffer any type of cardiovascular event. There are two specific reasons for this. The first is just that people who donate blood must have healthy blood, so they’re just simply in better health. The second reason is that every time you donate blood, it extracts up to 250 milligrams of iron from your arteries. This significantly reduces your risk of getting heart disease.

For some people like math teacher Ms. Frye, blood donation made a significant impact on their lives. Ms. Frye and several people in her family have been on the other side of the donation process, and owe their lives to blood donation.

“Every single member of my family, all four of us, had to have blood transfused at some point. I had to when I was 17 hours old, otherwise I wouldn’t be here” Ms. Frye explains.

If saving lives wasn’t enough, you get three hours of community service. If you donate every time there is a blood drive at ODA, that accumulates to 12 hours- half of your community service completed, and 12 lives saved as well.¬†Come out February 8 and help Suncoast Blood Bank make a difference in Sarasota.