Harrisites save lives at the THHS Blood Drive

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On October 7, the Townsend Harris Student Leadership class invited all eligible students and faculty to participate in the school’s triannual Blood Drive. This year, the Blood Drive was held during bands one to eight in the auditorium. Qualified donors were encouraged to schedule appointments and donate blood. The blood drive ultimately accumulated 141 pints of blood, which were donated to the New York Blood Center. According to the Red Cross, the amount of donated blood could potentially save up to 423 lives. 

“Seeing the donors proud of what they just did made me proud to be a part of it,” said Coordinator of Student Activities Nicole Gleizer.

This year, Ms. Gleizer was appointed to facilitate the Blood Drive. This responsibility entailed working with the New York Blood Center to create appointments for students, ensuring every volunteer was prepared with the necessary paperwork, and spreading awareness about the importance of donating blood through informational emails and posters. 

Donors of all blood types were encouraged to take part; however, they had to meet specific requirements. According to the New York Blood Center, potential donors must be at least 16 years old, over 110 pounds, and should expect to undergo blood testing to check for any complications that would render the blood unsuitable for donation. Although 78 people pre-registered to donate, 33 were not allowed to participate due to circumstances such as high heart rate and low iron levels.

After being turned away because she was unaware of the certain height and weight restrictions for donors ages 16 to 18, junior Chayti Biswas said she was told she had to be “129+ pounds and 5′ 2, but I was 5′ 1.”

“I realized that a lot of people were turned away when I went, and people spent hours waiting excitedly to donate only to hear they weren’t eligible for some particular reason,” added senior and Student Union Vice President Zarif Rahman.

Student Leadership class members also shared some of their obstacles while trying to gather volunteers.

Blood Drive volunteer junior Allyanne Ilasin said it was challenging to persuade people to donate due to weariness over the side-effects following blood donation and general uneasiness towards having their blood drawn by a needle. 

Junior Piyas Baidya, another member of the Student Leadership class, said many people had expressed concerns about the amount of blood they’d have to donate. 

Recruiters still managed to persuade volunteers with several incentives, including the option to skip three bands, offering complimentary snacks and drinks, and even the prize of a free elevator pass for the day. 

Senior Chris Gilson said, “After donating, I was told every pint of blood saves three lives, so that made me feel like I did something.”

Ms. Gleizer concluded, “We are already scheduled for our next drive on February 7th. Start eating your red meat and dark, leafy greens now!”

Photo courtesy of Jasmine Deonandan