UHS Hosts Second Blood Drive of School Year

Veronica Kuo, Staff Writer 

UHS hosted its second blood drive of the school year on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. 

ASB Club Commissioners and seniors Asher Do and Deven Gupta brought back the blood drive for the first time since the pandemic on Dec. 6, 2021. 

There was a reduced number of participants during this blood drive compared with the last one. 

“The turnout was a little less than the first blood drive, but we noticed a lot of new people donating who didn’t donate last time,” Do said. 

Although the turnout was lower, the increase in first time donors is promising to American Red Cross charge nurse Tracy Olsen, who discusses the importance of high school blood drives. 

“If we can reach our donors right away in high school and can get a lifetime donor, that is the best. Absolutely the best,” Olsen said.

For some students, including senior Sohrab Habibi, this blood drive gave them the opportunity to donate blood for the first time.

“I just felt my blood would be better used somewhere else and help out. I would do it again and I would recommend others to also donate,” Habibi said. 

For others, like senior Maxim Sidko, this blood drive was an added opportunity to give blood again. 

“This is my tenth time donating. It’s a nice feeling knowing that me donating blood is helping somebody and it doesn’t take a lot from me to do it,” Sidko said. 

Most students who donated blood missed one or two periods of school.

“It’s usually pretty simple. When you get there, you answer a few questions. Then, a nurse asks a couple more questions and checks your vitals, and then you donate blood. It takes around 45 minutes, so not too long,” Sidko said.

However, other students have experienced spending up to two hours in the blood drive and caution other students of the time commitment.

“[Donating blood] just takes forever, so keep that in mind,” Habibi said.

Olsen comments on the importance of donating blood and the positive impacts it can have on the community, especially given the current blood shortage.

“We’re really excited to be back at the high schools. Going forward, we’re looking forward to having a bigger drive. Today, we just have students coming in and some staff, but typically, your high school is a really nice location for the area because you get the parents and even some other adults from the community,” Olsen said.

As students and parents alike have slowly returned to the new normal, blood supply around the country has dwindled. 

“Initially during the pandemic, we actually saw an increase in donations because people had more free time. The other thing we saw was a decreased need during the pandemic because many elective surgeries and procedures were placed on halt,” Olsen said. “Now, we’re having the elective procedures starting up again, [but] people are vaccinated so they’re going back to their lives in a little more normal fashion so we’re not getting as many people coming through and so it causes a really dire need for blood in a little while, and we’re still in that right now.” 

These factors that feed into the need for blood around the country have made high school blood drives, like UHS, vital to the Red Cross. 

“We’re especially appreciative to come back to these high schools where we’ve got these kids willing to donate,” Olsen said.