SHS Outreach and Stanford Blood Drive host event

May 30, 2018 — by Anishi Patel

On the morning of April 19, the Small Gym was filled with students participating in the blood drive. Students across campus could be seen sporting the multi-colored patches and stickers proclaiming their contribution to the effort.

The drive was hosted by the outreach commission in partnership with Stanford Blood Center.

According to the group’s head commissioner, senior Sahana Sarin, 69 people donated a total of approximately 49 pints of blood. While the drive did not reach its goal of 53 pints of blood, only 17 people were deferred from the process this year, a far lower ratio than last year’s 30 percent deferral rate, Sarin said.

To ensure both the donors’ and recipients’ safety, once a student meets the necessary height, weight and age requirements, the Stanford Blood Drive staff must test his or her blood by pricking a finger. If a student has low iron or hemoglobin concentrations and the blood is deemed unsuitable, they are deferred. If not, the student visits a doctor for a final check and is then instructed to drink water or eat a nutrient bar as needed before the donation.

“The blood will go to anybody who needs it: anyone who’s gotten into a car accident, is going through a major surgery or is maybe getting a C-section,” Sarin said. “People don’t realize that a lot of blood is needed for these kinds of surgeries, and even doing a little bit like this can make a difference.”

For students  apprehensive at the thought of donating blood, the commission provided an incentive this year; each presenting donor was offered a Baskin Robbins “Pint for Pint” coupon. Donuts, Rice Krispies, chips and various other treats were also available.

Sophomore Hanna Fu, who recently became eligible to donate at the age of 16, was extremely anxious the day of the drive.

“I was really scared, especially since it was my first time,” Fu said. “But after the initial pain, which was only a light prick, I felt completely fine. It was worth it; you’re doing a good thing for people who need help.”

Before the drive, new student commissioner sophomore Sally Kim learned that up to three lives could be saved with one pint of blood, a statistic that persuaded her to participate in the drive.

“If you’re able to make a difference with your body, and you fully recover, why not donate?” Kim said. “Hospitals need new blood every week, and if you’re healthy and meet the requirements, you should donate.”

Sarin and Kim say that around 10 percent of the nation’s blood supply comes from high school students ages 16 or 17, making a school-sponsored blood drive one of the most important activities for eligible students to participate in.

“We rely on people to donate the gift of life,” said Michele Gassaway, spokesperson for the Stanford blood center. “Patients use blood every day, and this is one gift that doesn’t cost anything to give.”