Townsend Harris gives back with Blood Drive

Townsend Harris gives back with Blood Drive
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By Maimunah Virk, staff writer

Townsend Harris High School students, faculty, and family members volunteered to donate at the annual Fall Blood Drive on October 6. In total, 83 volunteers donated 39 pints of blood, enough blood to save 117 lives.

Participating donors had to be at least 16 years of age and weigh at least 110 pounds. They were required to answer questions about their recent medical history and have their temperature, blood, pulse, and hemoglobin levels checked. If they qualified, they would proceed to donate, which lasted about eight to ten minutes.

Senior Janki Patel donated blood for her third time this year, and said her experience has always been comfortable. When asked why she donates, she replied “I wanted to donate because I want to help people that are in need of blood. Since I have O positive blood, I know it would be helpful for others so this is one way I give back.”

Janki believed students should donate if possible because “it’s not painful and it’s actually good. It gives your body new and clean blood when the drawn blood is replaced.”

Senior Daniel Sotelo-Reiner added, “I feel like donating blood is a really simple way to give back if you can. I don’t have the most time to spend doing volunteer work at hospitals or other establishments, so spending a few bands three times a year is just a small way I can help people.”

Senior Advisor Maria Assante, who has been a regular blood donor ever since she was able to, said that she donates because she thinks it is important to give back, especially knowing that you have the ability to save someone’s life.

“Donation is not as scary as it may seem, and for students at Townsend it is one way to carry out the ephebic oath”, she stated.  

Coordinator of Student Activities Sarah Oberlander stated the blood drive was generally successful, but many students were upset because they couldn’t donate.“There were 40 students who were deferred for things like low iron count, high pulse, travel restrictions, or low weight,” she said.

She recommended eating iron-rich foods for those students, and all donors, such as green vegetables and fish, to boost iron levels. She also added that Vitamin C helps absorb iron, while coffee and tea reduces absorption by 50%.

The blood donation process overall went smoothly. However one of the machines, the Alyx Component Collection System, which collects twice as many red blood cells, couldn’t be used as it was missing necessary supplies.

According to American Red Cross, “every two seconds someone in the US needs blood”, and since it can’t be manufactured, donation is extremely important. The blood that was collected at the blood drive will be sent to areas that have been impacted by the recent hurricanes, in order to help with blood shortages.

“I donate at least twice a year usually, because it is a simple way to help others who are in need of a vital resource that is almost impossible to artificially synthesize,”  Physics Teacher Joshua  Raghunath stated. He encourages students to donate because, “By donating blood you can save someone’s life, but more importantly by donating blood you are given a free pass to eat cookies and rest.”