Less is still more: Decline in eligible donations in fall Red Cross blood drive

Photo courtesy of 103aw.ang.af.mil.

The biannual Westhill Blood Drive was held on October 31 in partnership with The American Red Cross. Blood-spattered fonts advertising the drive were hung up on October 1, giving students 17 and older ample time to register with Ms. English, adviser of the Interact club. Students were encouraged to give blood in the Freshman Gym. 

One pint of blood collected from each student saves three lives. Of all of the volunteers, 41 students were first-time donors.

“The number of kids that came to me wanting to give blood was the highest, but it was the most I have ever seen deferred,” English said.

The Red Cross’ student donor eligibility changes annually, and this year the requirements were the strictest English has ever seen, resulting in numerous volunteers being turned away. She speculates that because of new blood testing techniques and disease awareness, The Red Cross has become more selective with the quality of blood they collect. 

Of the 61 students who signed up with Ms. English, 43 were allowed to register to give blood. In addition, a large amount of walk-in volunteers were also deferred from giving blood with no proper explanation.  Compared to the 36 pints collected last fall, the 26 pints of blood collected this year shows a significant decline. 

Towards the end of the day, some students were rejected over an hour before school ended because the Red Cross nurses were already preparing to leave. This came as a shock because the student body was told the nurses would be in the Freshman Gym the entire school day. 

The results of this fall’s blood drive were unexpected to say the least, and though Ms. English plans to run another blood drive in the spring of 2020, time will tell if it will be more successful next time around.

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