Blood Drive

IMG_8349kylasebens    A bout with appendicitis left Samantha Lopes forever afraid of needles. She was administered roughly “30 shots everyday day for 3 days, and because of that, I hate needles,” Lopes said.
    That, and the fact that “they’re pointy and huge.”
    However, this fear is put to side when it comes to the magnanimous task of giving blood.
    “People need [blood], and there are people out there that I could save with my blood. Helping other people also helps overcome the fear that I have,” Lopes said.
    Which it did. The biannual blood drive provided by BloodSource, a non-profit blood donor organization, was a success.
    “[The drive] went awesome. There was 25 or 35 more people that were able to donate [compared to last year],” Mr. Jason Feuerbach said.
    These 25-35 pints could save up to about 100 lives, and every last drop is needed. Northern and Central California hospitals, nearly 40 of which BloodSource supports, require about 700 pints of blood daily.
    “If we didn’t come to high schools, we would not have enough blood to support our hospitals,” said Ashley Rebholtz.
    Rebholtz was in charge of this and several other drives, covering an area from Merced to the Oregon border, reaching to about 125 high schools.
    “[We go to high schools] because we have to start out with every generation and ensure that we have blood donors for life, so as the older generation stops donating, who’s going to fill that role? The younger generations,” Rebholtz said.
    Unfortunately, not everybody can give. Only 38% of the population is eligible to give blood, and of that, only 5% do.
    To ensure that the blood is clean, donors go through a series of booths, interviews, surveys and test samples, seeing if it is free of disease, but iron-rich as well. And even though your blood may be clean, you could be a potential risk.
    “I lived in London for more than six months, and there was that Mad Cow epidemic. Theoretically, I could have been exposed to that Mad Cow Creon, I can no longer give blood,” Paula Noonan, RN said. 
    Noonan has been a nurse working with BloodSource for 14 years, and she only speaks highly of her work.
    “I love working in the community in such a positive environment, saving lives with wonderful people,” Noonan said.
    The phlebotomists, or the people that actually administer the blood-taking, worked two chairs at the same time to speed up the process, which takes about five minutes. 
    To donate blood, the process is a long but necessary one. After signing in, the participant goes to a quick registry to give mailing information and their home address. From there, they take a survey, asking of the participant’s medical history. They then talk to a nurse from BloodSource about the survey, making sure they are eligible for giving. A finger prick will quickly tell if they have enough iron in their blood, and if they do, it’s just a call up to the chair.
    The phlebotomists are calm and courteous, and try to ease the nerves of the anxious participant. They are constantly talking to the donor, and provide a peaceful distraction from the protruding needle.
    If this drive is at all relevant as to what the spring drive will be, BloodSource can count on having a truckload of blood coming soon. 
    “We have an awesome student body, and they really enjoy helping out the community. It’s becoming a standard operating procedure, where the kids know what to do,” Feuerbach said.