By: Aidan Minnick, Staff Writer
James River hosted the annual spring blood drive on Monday, April 11th and Tuesday, April 12th. The event was held in the auxiliary gym from nine to one. Participants provided roughly one pint of blood, and donated for various reasons.
“I am donating blood because I know that many people each day need blood for transfusions or blood donations. I volunteer with Chesterfield County as an EMT and I know that there are many patients that need it. To me, it’s just the right thing to do, and I love helping save lives in any way I can,” senior Courtney Rowe said.
According to the Houston Methodist, if you donate blood, they can keep it for good use for over a month; approximately 42 days. Phlebotomists take a pint of whole blood, which means it usually includes red blood cells, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate.
“I think donating blood is important because it can save up to three lives from just one donation of my blood. Red Cross takes my blood and puts it in a lab, which they then can take components from it for people who need them (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, or plasma). It is a way of helping those in need anonymously and I think that is really cool too,” Rowe said.
According to the Red Cross, plasma, and cryoprecipitate can be stored frozen, which means they can use it after a year of donation. Donating at schools is very easy. During the fall, or spring blood drive you can sign up at the tables at lunch.
“I donated blood at the last blood drive here at James River. I actually had a fairly easy experience. I bled really fast and finished the donation in under 5 minutes. The nurse told me that that was the fastest anyone had finished donating the entire pint of blood in the whole school.” Rowe said.
For a first time donor, it can be very daunting, but it is a safe medical procedure. According to the Red Cross most people don’t want to donate blood because they had never thought about it, or they are scared of needles, but there is no reason to be scared.
“[If I were to give somebody advice] I would probably just tell them that it is a way to save lives, and it is such an easy process. It doesn’t hurt, but if you are afraid of needles, I would probably tell you not to look while they are sticking you with the needle,” Rowe said.
“Advice for first time donors is to hydrate yourself before and after your donation! Eat iron rich protein the night before, and make sure you are healthy enough to give blood. And don’t psych yourself out, it’s not as bad as you think. Think about the people receiving the blood, not about to blood being taken from you,” Rowe said.
Although the school’s blood drive is over, you can still donate blood. Visit http://www.vablood.org/ to learn more about how to donate.