The state of Arizona needs more than 700 blood donors every day to properly supply its hospitals, and last Thursday Desert Vista High School students did their part by participating in an on-campus blood drive organized by the Key Club.
According to Key Club faculty adviser Anita Welch, 190 people volunteered to donate blood, and at the end of the day 140 successful blood draws were collected.
“Students could be anemic, or they could have a cold or sore throat,” Welch said. “If you’re sick, they’re not going to take your blood.”
In order to take part in the blood drive, students 16 and older who meet a weight restriction have to bring a signed approval form from their guardian. Key club members were trained by the school nurse so that they could help their fellow students if necessary.
“The Key Club members are really good about supporting their friends and talking to other students when they’re donating,” Welch said. “They also put out this big spread of food because people need to eat and drink after donating blood.”
Before each blood drive at Desert Vista, Key Club officers are trained by their school nurse and representatives from United Blood Services.
“We have blood drive presentations at their Key Club meetings,” said Sharon Ryan, a United Blood Services employee who attended Desert Vista’s blood drive. “I briefed them on basic donor qualifications as well as preparation for the blood drive.”
Welch has been touched by the students’ generosity in wanting to donate blood.
“Some of them are scared at first, but it tickles me to see how they want to help,” she said. “It makes them feel good to know that their donation can help save lives.”
The Key Club members who organized Desert Vista’s first blood drive three years ago have continued their efforts on their college campuses, Welch said.
“Two of our previous Key Club officers are now involved in blood drives at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University,” she said. “I think that a lot of the students are starting something with our blood drives that will be a lifelong dedication.”
Desert Vista conducts three blood drives each school year, and the next blood drive will be April 28. All community members are welcome to donate.
“We hope people will donate before they go to work, because we start the drive at 7 a.m.,” Welch said.
To find locations for blood drives before April, visit www.unitedbloodservices.org.