AT hosted its biannual blood drive on Wednesday, March 9, in hopes of playing a role in the alleviation of the stress caused by the ongoing national blood shortage.
This year’s blood drive brought out 58 different donors, including AT students, AT staff members, and members of the Addison community. With each pint sized donation of blood supplying enough to save three people’s lives, donors expressed that the consequence of their donation was well worth a pinch of pain.
“I wanted to donate blood today because I felt like it was gonna be a good feeling knowing you’re gonna save someone’s life,” said junior Joey Verbana. This blood drive marked Verbana’s second time donating blood. “The first time I donated I was very nervous but I got through it and it was pretty good afterwards.”
The drive also brought out volunteers from the community. These volunteers included check-in helpers Judy Socha and Fran Engstrom, who have worked with the program for over 50 years. During their time as volunteers, they have helped with Addison’s seven annual blood drives enough times to see enough donations to save over 100,000 people.
Socha said that her efforts would help set young people on the right path.
“We’re a very viable blood program and we’re very grateful to the school for letting us be here,” she said. “If you start giving at your young ages, you’ll be doing that for a long time.”
Engram said that it was important to ensure that young people weren’t ignorant of the importance of blood.
“I think a lot of people take it for granted until they’re in a situation where somebody in their family needs blood. Unfortunately, we can’t buy it, we can’t order it on amazon, and there’s only one way to get it and that’s from people that are willing to donate it,” she said.
For Socha, Engram’s statement has an extra personal meaning.
“In 2019, four days before the blood drive here I fell and broke my leg. I got blood,”she said.
Amidst the pandemic, as shortages of blood, phlebotomists, and volunteers have taken precedence across the country, volunteers are reminding potential donors that there can even be benefits to donating outside of saving others.
“Donating blood is actually very good for the body,” said Socha. “Even if you’re old, it forces your body to replace blood cells. Your platelets are replaced instantaneously, your plasma is replaced instantaneously,and it takes about three weeks for red blood cells. Every 90 days, every red blood cell in your body produced by the bone marrow dies. When you take out a pint, you force your body to make a whole new pint of very viable blood, so you do yourself a favor.”
Student volunteers also urged fellow students to come out and donate.
“Its very important,”said senior Mary Velez, who volunteered at the blood drive and donated. “You have the ability to save a life. Why not? You could be saving your neighbor and you wouldn’t even know it,” she said.
Socha echoed that giving blood is an experience unmatched.
“Oftentimes people will tell me ‘it’s gonna hurt’ and I say ‘oh do you want to get a tattoo someday? Do you have your ears pierced?’ It’s a pinch, but after that pinch what you do literally saves a person’s life. And how many people can say that in a lifetime? Because of me, three people are alive. That’s the motivation. And you were to hope that when you give you never have to have it back,” she said.
AT and Addison ask that any eligible donor willing to donate would find a location near them and help save lives.