By Jack Thalmann, V Form
Making a Change, Pint by Pint with a Blood Drive
Approximately every two seconds in the United States, someone needs a blood transfusion, meaning that more than 36,000 donated pints of red blood cells are needed every day. This statistic surprised me last year when I was working on an assignment for Do The Right Thing, the sophomore core Saturday program. We had been assigned to create a mock advertisement about an organization that we believed was important. I chose to research blood drives, incorporating facts that I researched into an advertisement that I hoped would catch a viewer’s attention. The mere daily amount of blood needed was enough to shock me, because a person is only allowed to donate blood every two months. Therefore, to reach the amount needed daily amount, 13,140,000 donated pints are required every year. This comes out to be the equivalent of 2,190,000 citizens of the United States donating blood every time they are eligible: 6 times a year.
Since a surprisingly small number of the people I personally know donate more than once or twice annually, I began thinking back to this immense nationwide necessity for blood. It occurred to me that it is virtually impossible for this need be always fulfilled. I wanted to do my part to help in any way I could, no matter how insignificant it may be to the tens of thousands of pints needed daily. I wondered how I could contribute to this need.
Between the end of Do the Right Thing in the middle of my sophomore year and the winter of my junior year, I worked with the Director of Student Life to communicate with the medical professionals at the MWMC Blood Donor Program about a time that worked with both them and us at St. Mark’s. We arranged for MWMC to spend a few hours with our community to draw blood. Once we finalized a date, all that was left to do was inform the student body, teachers, and staff of when and where the drive would take place, and why it is important that they donate. Once I made a school meeting announcement, the drive was underway.
The blood drive had happened to fall on the first day of exam week, and although I did not have an exam, I drove to school early to help set up the drive. I donated first and saw people start to trickle in to donate soon after. What surprised me the most was that the majority of the donors were either freshmen, seniors, or faculty and staff. Many of the freshmen were turned away because they were too young (if you are under 16, a parent/guardian signature is required) or did not weigh enough (110 pound minimum) to donate. I know that when I was a freshmen, I would not have been considering such a selfless action such as donating blood.
We successfully ended the day with 16 pints of blood, as opposed to the 15 pints donated last spring. Though it may not seem like much of a difference on a global scale, we as a school helped to change at least one more life than we did in the previous year, and that in and of itself is what I call progress.
Blood drives are available at various locations (hospitals, schools, colleges, offices) often. You can find American Red Cross drive dates and locations by clicking here and search other blood drive date and location opportunities here.
I want to encourage everyone to consider donating at a blood drive. It is a small gesture to contribute to something meaningful and a major cause.
Jack Thalmann is a V Form day student from Holliston, MA. He enjoys studying biology, running, and experiencing new cultures.
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