Record tally for annual blood drive


BP Photo by Ezra Fax

DONORS: Sophomores Noa Segal, left, and Tali Schlact were among 47 volunteers to donate.

By Aidel Townsley, Staff Writer

Despite a two-hour-late start, the annual blood drive collected a record 42 pints from 47 student and teacher volunteers in the gym April 4.

Some people were unable to donate because the equipment truck driver called in sick and they missed their time slot, and others were deemed ineligible donors because of age or medical issues.

But even with these difficulties, enough blood was collected to save 126 lives, according to the Red Cross.

The previous record was 33 pints in 2008.

“A lot of people gave double,” said event co-chair Eric Bazak, explaining that officials encouraged students to give more than the minimum one pint.  For example, Eric himself was invited to give plasma, which took almost an hour and which helps many more people than a typical donation.

“When you’re going to donate, then you may as well go above and beyond and do what the American Red Cross wants you to do,” Eric said.

Junior Eliana Meltzer has donated blood four times, twice with Shalhevet.

“If someone gets in a car accident I always think, ‘What if they don’t have enough blood and they can’t recover?’” said junior Elianna Meltzer, who donated two cycles.

“And because I’m O-positive, I’m universally accepted, which means anyone can take my blood and it would work, which means that I can help more people and I’m not really limited in that case. And it feels just good to be able to donate.”

Junior Alec Fields, donating for the second time, said it didn’t hurt and didn’t take too much time.

“The fact that you can help someone just by taking 20 minutes out of your day is really great,” Alec told the Boiling Point. “After the one-second shot-like feeling, you don’t really feel it and you can just lie down and do whatever until they are done.”

Before giving blood, participants had to be checked to see if they met all  the necessary guidelines.

Some were declined for unexpected reasons, such as recently having received a vaccine or being underweight. Since the Red Cross prohibits those under 16 from giving blood, many underclassmen who were interested were not accepted.

Additionally, every donor scheduled for before 10:30 am had to reschedule, so some were ultimately unable to donate.

A fear of needles also stopped some from donating, but not as many as in previous years. More than half the seniors donated this year, while in 2014 more than half didn’t, citing a fear of needles.

Brandi Cole, team supervisor for the drive, said another problem can be lack of education. “I think a lot of people are not educated about people needing blood or people needing their own blood, cause a lot of people think ‘no, I need my blood I can’t give it away,’” said Ms. Cole. “But you don’t.”

Senior Kayla Ablin co-chaired the event.