SMW Blood Drive Follow-Up

Michelle Ho, Staff Writer

Starting off the year with an altruistic deed, Seniors of Merit and Work (SMW) hosted the UCLA Blood Drive on Jan. 17. The blood drive was held from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the North Gym, allowing those who are 17-years-old and above to donate their blood as volunteers.

Senior Celena Fu, one of the people who volunteered to donate said, “I’ve always wanted to donate blood and possibly help someone, so this was my decision.”

Upon entering the gym, students were walked through the procedure to donate blood. Ms. Rita Wilkins, one of the SMW advisors, who ran the blood drive with UCLA, explained this process.

“Before [Winter] Break, we started signing people up for the blood drive in the ASB office. [Students] had to turn in packets with their parents’ permission to be able to donate,” said Ms. Wilkins. “Students then get processed through UCLA and do a confidential history alone, and then sit one-on-one with a UCLA staff member who goes over everything and makes sure they are eligible to donate blood.”

“Before [the donation] I was nervous,” said junior Nyla Harding. “Afterwards, though, I was calm and pretty chill.”

With 12 stations that the phlebotomists worked at, the blood donors usually did not have to wait long to donate. Overall, the whole process of actually donating blood took about 7 to 10 minutes; the entire process from check-in to check-out was about 30 minutes. After students donated, they were led to the canteen where they were given free snacks and water to ensure they were well hydrated and fed after the blood drive.

“The phlebotomists here are extremely experienced so [the blood drawing is] relatively pain-free and stress-free.” said Ms. Wilkins. The students “sit [at the canteen] so we can make sure that they’re not feeling sick from their blood donation. It doesn’t happen very often but occasionally people can feel faint. After [about 15 minutes] has passed [students] can checkout. They take their call-slip, go through attendance, and then go back to their classroom.”

This [was] my first time donating blood,” said junior Yifeng (Jack) Wang. “When the needle [was in my] arm, [I felt] half a second of pain, but after that everything was good. In the future, if my blood can save more people, I will choose to donate one more time.”

Overall, the UCLA Blood Drive hosted by SMW received over 200 sign ups for donation and processed 82 for actual donations. In total, 62 units of blood were collected for patients in need.

“The UCLA team could not have been more grateful. Thank you to the custodians who added blood drive work to their already busy day, to those of you who donated blood, to those who wore shirts in support, and to those who graciously allowed students to leave their classes. You are all lifesavers!” said Ms. Wilkins.

“All of the blood will be used for our patients at UCLA,” said Principal Administrative Analyst Deborah Alter, the UCLA administrator overseeing the blood drive. “The drive was a great success and we are grateful to all of the donors who donated today!”

Again, we thank all the staff from UCLA and our own AHS staff for helping make this blood drive possible. Congratulations to UCLA and SMW on the great success of this annual blood drive, and we hope many more people continue to donate in the future.