High school community rolls up its sleeves to help those in need

June 18, 2022

By Emilia Calabrese

LHS held its first blood drive since the start of the pandemic on June 9. The event was run by Vitalant, a nonprofit organization that works throughout Bergen County to collect blood from volunteer donors and provides blood, blood products and services across the United States.  

Anyone who is at least 16 years old and 110 pounds was eligible to participate. This year, 42 slots were filled with 39 students and three faculty members signing up.

After getting their hemoglobin and iron levels checked, 33 were still eligible to donate their blood. 

According to the Vitalant website, blood donations are important because they provide a life-saving opportunity for those with serious injuries and health conditions. This means hospitals need a constantly available blood supply of 29,000 units of red blood cells, 5,000 units of platelets and 6,500 units of plasma. 

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a dramatic shortage of blood which has delayed critical blood transfusions for people in need, making donations crucial.

This is school nurse Mrs. Nowinski’s sixth year running LHS’ blood drive. She said holding blood drives is a great way to give back to the community and teach young adults the importance of donating their blood. 

“I am contributing towards the fight of this life-transforming act that saves lives,” Nowinski said. 

According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in the United States requires a blood transfusion. With one donation, you can help save up to three lives.

Blood donations go to help those who have been in an accident, require surgery and are receiving specific treatments.

“I usually leave smiling knowing that I may have saved a life.”

Nowinski said students should participate in blood drives because it teaches them to be generous.

“It is my hope that by introducing the kind act to them at a young age, they will continue with it as they get older,” Nowinski said 

Senior Genesis Cedeño said she decided to donate blood for her first time after hearing about the blood drive on the morning announcements. 

Cedeño said although she has had her blood drawn before, she was still nervous. 

“I didn’t know what the process was going to be like, so that added to my nerves,” Cedeño said. 

From start to finish, the process took about two hours, but Cedeño said she was surprised by how easy it was.

“I was proud of myself for going through with the donation. It felt good to be a part of something like that,” Cedeño said.

She said she felt lightheaded after her blood was drawn, but she felt great knowing she was helping others. 

“I really hope my blood… changes someone’s life for the better,” Cedeño said.

English teacher Mrs. Ruiz is no stranger to LHS’ blood drives, having participated in every one. 

Ruiz said she is never apprehensive about donating blood.

“I usually leave smiling knowing that I may have saved a life,” Ruiz said. “I just feel happy that I can donate and hopefully set an example for other potential donors,” Ruiz said. 

While needles don’t scare her, Ruiz said she gets nervous that her iron count, which is tested prior to the donation, will be too low to donate. 

Ruiz said she prepared for the Blood Drive by staying hydrated to ensure that she would feel well after. 

“I didn’t even need to hang out afterwards. I was able to get right up and leave,” Ruiz said.

She said anyone who meets the requirements should become a blood donor. 

“It really is such a simple thing to do, yet it means so much to those on the receiving end. One donation could save a life,” said Ruiz.

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