Blood drives save millions of lives every year. Southern Huntingdon County High School (SHCHS) is doing its part each year to add to that number by hosting blood drives multiple times each school year. Most recently, the American Red Cross came to the school Dec. 3. This worldwide recognized organization spent the day in the auxiliary gym of the building, where students who had appointments would come and donate. Those who did not have the opportunity to sign up for an appointment could even walk in and donate.
Ryan Oser, health instructor at SHC and part of the blood donor drive team, expressed, “In my experience after you give blood, when it is donated to someone, the group will send you information on who it went to. It is pretty neat to see where it goes and how it is being used to help someone in need.”
“In the high school,” Oser continued, “it is nice to see students who are afraid of needles overcoming their fear to help someone else.”
Oser concluded with how important these blood drive events are currently. “In a time of need, especially right now, with the wildfires in California and national disasters happening around us, blood donations are essential. Because of this, I do think everyone who has the ability to give blood, should.”
“The first time I donated blood was when I was in senior high school,” Jessica Keim, freshman and sophomore English teacher at Southern Huntingdon explained. “I was amazed at how easy it was, and I was fascinated by the entire process. I have given blood several times since then, but unfortunately, my iron levels have been too low for me to donate recently.”
“My mother received blood transfusions after undergoing a double knee replacement. For a year after her surgery, she was constantly cold, which was an anomaly — typically, she refused to wear a coat in the coldest weather. She blamed the transfusions, insisting that she received blood from a cold-blooded person,” shared Keim.
“Blood drives are important, especially in schools, because it provides an opportunity for many people to donate blood in one location on the same day. Having a blood drive in a high school allows students to see that the procedure is not frightening. Students also see teachers and other adults who are giving the gift of life by donating blood, a very simple form of community service. However, those who cannot or choose not to donate should not feel guilty,” added Keim.
Scott Lake, SHC eighth grade ELA instructor and child development professor through Penn Highlands Community College, replied, “Donating blood helps replenish the blood supply need in our area. A person can save someone’s life by donating blood, and that is important to me. I have had family and friends receive blood transfusions at the hospital, so I have seen how someone can be personally affected by blood donations.
“I have not had any complications giving blood, and it is a fairly simple process that doesn’t consume too much time. Being able to give blood is all about being comfortable with the whole process. I think stepping out of a comfort zone is important for everyone who has the ability.”
“I believe blood drives are so important because without them there would be no blood to give to those who need it the most,” proclaimed Hailey Sechrist, a senior student and veteran donator. “I strongly believe if you are able to, you should donate blood to help others in need. I have always had a good experience giving blood and nothing bad has ever happened.
“I do not know anyone personally who has been affected by blood donations, but I do know many people around the world have been impacted by my own donations, and that makes me incredibly happy.”
Peytan Fritz, SHC junior and first-time donator affirmed how happy she was to overcome her fear to help others.
“Blood drives are important because the people who need it rely on others to participate. I was really scared at first because I do not like needles, but my friends talked me into donating blood. They told me that it was not really painful, and when I got there, the lady talked me through the whole process and kept me calm. I chose to donate because I like the thought that I helped someone who needs it, and I am glad I went through with the decision, despite being worried at first.”
Southern Huntingdon has given back to the community through blood drives and will continue to do so. In a time of need, blood drives are crucial to the act of saving people’s lives. Every year there are more students who participate and plenty of students who donate at every blood drive. Continuing a tradition, SHC faculty and students will continue to contribute to this lifesaving act.