The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

SMW Brings In Blood Donations for UCLA Blood Drive

Rachelle Witarno

Starting the year off with a generous act, Seniors of Merit at Work (SMW) collaborated with UCLA Blood & Platelet Center to host the annual UCLA Blood Drive on Jan. 19. Held from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the North Gym, students, staff, and parents were able to donate blood to the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center. To be eligible to donate, donors had to be at least 16-years-old, weigh 110 pounds, have no prior exposure to HIV or malaria, and must be healthy with no symptoms of illness in the past three days. Other requirements include having no lip, nose, or mouth piercings in the last 12 months, and donors must not have taken flu or cold medicine in the past 24 hours.

The UCLA Blood & Platelet Center collects approximately 60,000 donations yearly. These blood donations make up approximately 75% of their blood bank. Each donation can potentially benefit up to three individuals, primarily aiding leukemia patients, transplant recipients, surgery patients, and individuals with blood deficiencies. In a remarkable achievement, Arcadia High School also set the record for having the highest one-day donation total for a high school drive. This year, almost 200 people signed up, and 72 units of blood were collected. 

Blood drive set-up.

“The goal of this event was to encourage people to donate blood, and ultimately save lives!” said SMW Blood Drive Chair Emma Samvelian. “We wanted previous donors to return and donate for a second time, I know I certainly did, and create great experiences for first-time donors who will hopefully continue to donate next year, and even throughout the rest of their lives.” 

“We wanted to collect as many donations as possible and hopefully beat last year’s blood yield—which we did!” added another SMW Blood Drive Chair Lana Menck. “We collected 57 units of blood last year and 72 units this year!”

In order to register, donors would first sign their name, school ID number, and phone number with an SMW member, then donors would turn in the Blood Drive Consent Packet to the ASB Office by Jan. 11. Afterwards, donors would have to set up an appointment online by scanning QR codes on posters or the consent packets. 

“So the process is actually rather simple, and I did it myself this year,” said Menck. “It took me half an hour in total, but it really depends person-by-person.”

Upon entering the gym, donors filled out some forms to assess their medical eligibility. Following that, a quick blood pressure check and a hemoglobin test, where phlebotomists would prick the donor’s finger for a few droplets, was conducted. If their hemoglobin levels were good, they were ready to donate. 

The actual blood extraction involved sterilizing the inner elbow, inserting the needle, and applying pressure on the donor’s arm with a foam piece.

“This only took me six minutes, but it can go for up to 15 depending on your blood pressure levels and general health,” stated Menck. “Afterwards, [phlebotomists would] bandage you up and have you sit for about 15 minutes to make sure your body didn’t react badly to it. It’s recommended to not do any excessive physical activity for the rest of the day, but otherwise, you’re then good to go!”

“It is important that donors don’t feel faint or weak post-donation, so UCLA [provided] drinks and snacks and [told] you to eat to your heart’s content!” added Samvelian.

Snack station for donors.

SMW took on a commendable task, starting preparations in October, including setting reservations and communicating with the center. 

“Most of the action happened in mid-November to December, which was when SMW members made our class advertisements, set up tables during lunch for sign-ups, and collected sign-ups privately,” explained Menck. “Emma Samvelian and I, who are the two chairs, then coordinated with the rest of our members to collect all of our sign-ups and their details.”

“We sent countless emails, updated sign-ups nearly every day, sent mass text messages, created call slips, and far more,” stated Samvelian. “The remaining SMW [members] collected sign-ups, helped with lunchtime advertisements, and made setup and cleanup on the day of the drive very quick and organized. The experience was truly one of a kind, and seeing the event come to life before my eyes was an extremely fulfilling moment!”

The collaborative effort of the SMW members was pivotal, and the success of the blood drive is a testament to their meticulous planning and commitment.

“We definitely had our hiccups, but in general it’s a totally enriching and worthwhile experience!” exclaimed Menck.

“SMW would like to thank everyone who participated, and we welcome you to return next year!” expressed Samvelian.

Congratulations to SMW and UCLA for the fantastic outcome of this yearly blood drive. We look forward to seeing a growing number of individuals contribute in the times ahead.

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