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Students donate blood during this holiday season of giving

Hayley Kirkland donated blood during a recent Blood Drive on campus. Photo contributed

On Dec. 3, a student and staff blood drive was held at Atascadero High School by Vitalant, a nonprofit organization that collects blood donations for people in need. Especially now, during this season of giving, it’s a great time to donate. Donating to blood drives can help people who are having surgery, fighting cancer, giving birth, experiencing a medical emergency, and more. AHS collected and donated a total of 28 units of blood, enough to save the lives of 84 people.

AHS students and staff who wanted to donate were able to sign up and schedule appointments ahead of time, and donations took place throughout the day. To donate, students were required to be aged 16 years or older, have a parent or guardian sign a waiver, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health, eat 24 to 48 hours before the donation, hydrate, and have an ID present. Those who participated in the event were placed in a blood drive bus to receive a health screening before donating their blood. After donating, participants were given sugary snacks and drinks to raise their blood sugar levels. The donation process takes 10 easy steps and giving blood only takes from 10-15 minutes to complete.

The AHS community is proud to help donate blood to save the lives of those who are in desperate need of blood transfusions. One student who decided to donate was senior Aude Mahieu. She said, “I decided to give because I love to help people, so if I can help by giving blood, then I will.” Types of blood donations that were offered to the participants included whole blood and apheresis. Whole blood donations are the most commonly needed donation, and can help up to three people per donation. Apheresis is a specialized process that only uses specific components from every donor. This way of donating saves more lives because of the blood’s longevity.

Donating blood is one of the simplest ways to give back to the community. Darcy Price, the AHS Principal’s Secretary said, “Thank you to all who participated in the Blood Drive at AHS on Tuesday. It was a big success.” Each year, about five million Americans need blood transfusions. Those who donate help give life-saving blood to people in need. For anyone interested in donating blood, donation centers are located all over the U.S., including a nearby Vitalant location in San Luis Obispo at 4119 Broad St., #100.

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