Red Cross resumes its club activities second semester

After months of preparation, American Red Cross will hold its first blood drive of the school year on Mar. 14. The club anticipates around 150 donors this year.

The blood drive that was supposed to take place last fall was cancelled two days prior to its scheduled date due to the district negotiation issue. When the district declared an impasse, many teachers put a halt to various club activities by temporarily suspending their club advisory roles. Among those, Teresa Hebert, the advisor of Red Cross club, decided to cancel the event and leave her club temporarily.

“[When] the blood drive got cancelled all the officers were shocked. This year our club had grown in number so we had more blood donors and volunteers. Since the blood drive is the biggest event for our club, we had to plan other activities for our members. But it was unfortunate that we couldn’t teach our members how to carry out the blood drive,” senior Jessie Ryu, vice president of the American Red Cross, stated.

When the district and the teacher union reached a tentative agreement last month, Hebert immediately resumed her position as the club advisor. Soon club officers recommenced the club’s preparation for the last blood drive of the school year.

The blood drive is planned months in advance and involves donors signing up and submitting a permission slip with a parent signature.

Students must meet the district’s age requirement of 17 or above and the Red Cross’ height and weight criteria to be eligible for donation. Students then schedule a time within school hours to donate blood.

On the day of the drive, the club members and the American Red Cross arrive as early as 5 a.m. to set up in the gym. From 7 a.m. until lunchtime, students, assisted by Red Cross phlebotomists, trained medical professionals, donate blood.

Students make one of two types of blood donations, a whole blood donation or a plasma donation. A whole blood donation, the most common type, takes a pint of whole blood.

The plasma donation involves being attached to an Alyx machine that efficiently separates the plasma from the blood. The remaining components of blood are then returned back to the donor.

Afterwards, donors receive a pin and are offered light refreshments such as cookies and juice to recover from blood donation.

“I’m excited that people are taking time to donate blood because it’s something that you can do to help somebody else that is in need of it,” Hebert commented.