Stuyvesant High School and the New York Blood Center (NYBC) held the school’s second and final blood drive of the year on Tuesday, March 20. It was organized by Blood Drive Coordinators seniors Tong Niu and Lisa Qiu, with the help of Coordinator of Student Affairs Lisa Weinwurm and the Student Union. Medical personnel from the NYBC were present to conduct the blood donation process.
The drive took place from third to tenth period, and students sixteen years of age or older were encouraged to participate. Due to the length of the overall process, students were asked to reserve two periods of their academic day for the donation process – one lunch or free period and a period either before or after that period. Donors who were sixteen years old were also required to have a parent sign a consent form in order to donate.
After passing a medical examination, students were sent to a line where they waited to donate blood. After being prepared for blood collection by NYBC personnel, they were expected to each donate one pint of blood. Afterward, they received complimentary pizza, as well as various snacks, such as chips, cookies, and juice in order to recover after the lengthy donation.
During this blood drive, some students with a hemoglobin count of 40 and above had the option of donating blood. Using the ALYX Component Collection System. ALYX machines collect twice as much blood as is collected normally. The machines take blood and plasma from a donor, but separate the red blood cells from the mixture, returning the rest of the fluids to the donor’s body. This year, 28 students donated using an ALYX machine. One hundred and eleven other students donated blood as well, bringing the total amount of blood collected to 167 pints.
Even though the drive was ultimately a success, there were a few complications throughout the day. The NYBC was caught off guard by the number of donors and did not have enough staff members to orchestrate the drive. As a result, many students spent more than two periods waiting on line to donate blood.
“Signing the forms and waiting for the checkup took a relatively short amount of time,” junior Victoria Chen said. “Waiting to donate however, took much longer than two periods. That was my only complaint with the drive.”
“A huge issue every drive is the staff taking lunch breaks all at once, leaving several booths empty. We had around the same number of people donate as the last drive [in January, 2012], but had significantly fewer [NYBC staff members] helping to take medicals and conduct the donation,” Niu said.
Many students reported dizziness and nausea following their donation. However, one student who gave false information to the NYBC personnel during her medical examination suffered more serious side effects after her donation. The student, who indicated that she weighed more than she actually did because she did not meet the weight required to donate blood, fainted, fell, and split her head on a bench on the first floor. She was escorted out of the donation site and her wound required stitches.
“I think all weight requirements should be respected. There’s a reason the rules are there. The less you weigh, the more necessary the blood you have is,” junior Lucy Woychuk- Mlinac said.
Apart from those problems, however, the blood drive ran smoothly. Students were enthusiastic to contribute to the cause.
“I donate blood because I feel like it’s one of the best things a healthy person can do. There’s nothing particularly enjoyable about having a needle stuck in your arm for extended periods of time while some of your blood is being taken, but I didn’t have a problem with it. It doesn’t require a lot of work, and there is always someone who needs it,” Woychuk-Mlinac said.
“The experience was really meaningful”, junior Ally Geismar said. “It felt amazing to help my community and potentially save a life. I hope I’ll get the chance to do it again.”