Students laughed and peered over each other’s shoulders as they lined up outside of the Tech auditorium. These students were excited to contribute the blood necessary for transfusions at the Brooklyn Technical High School Blood Drive on Tuesday, December 6, 2016.
Ms. Lovelett, the assistant principal of the Biology department and coordinator of the Brooklyn Tech Blood Drive, described the event as a major success. “75 pints of blood were donated, which was very close to my goal of 80 pints of blood,” she said.
The process of donating blood is quick as it only takes about 10 to 12 minutes, but the donated blood is essential to assisting various patients in need. Blood can be separated into three components: red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Red blood cells contain the Hemoglobin protein, which allows them to deliver oxygen to the body tissues. Oxygen is important because it allows metabolic processes to occur. Platelets are cells that bind to damaged blood vessels to prevent bleeding. This comes into play whenever a cut is present on the body. Plasma is a transporting system that contains water molecules, salts, and enzymes which are vital to maintaining a healthy life. For example, water, salts and enzymes are used in cellular respiration, which provide energy for brain activity, digestion, and movement.
Donating blood is important because it assists people who are ill or have been in a major accidents. Blood donations are critical to treating patients, so it is imperative that a blood bank is always prepared.
Donations are always in demand because blood can only be stored for a limited amount of time. Red blood cells can usually be stored for 42 days, but platelets can only be stored for up to 5 days.
There are numerous benefits of blood donations for patients, but different factors pose certain concerns for potential donors. Ms. Lovelett stated that she chose to align with the New York Blood Center for Tech’s Blood Drive because it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA requires that phlebotomists ask direct questions about a potential donor’s medical history, and that the phlebotomists follow health guidelines to ensure the safety of the donor and recipients.
Other safety precautions at the Tech Blood Drive include a notarized permission slip, snacks for donors, and a buddy requirement. The permission slip is required for students who are 16 years old in order to ensure that a parent/guardian is aware of the student’s participation in the blood drive. Snacks and a place to rest give donors a chance to increase their blood-sugar level to prevent fatigue, and a “buddy” is also suggested so that in the case of an emergency, a student is never alone.
Ivanna Elkik ‘17 expressed her interest in donating and said, “Although I am busy with college applications, extracurricular activities, and other responsibilities, I still think that it is important to find time to try and help people as much as possible. Donating blood is just one way of doing so.”
Besides the blood drives at Tech, students can donate at any center and show their proof of donation to Ms. Lovelett to receive student credits.
“There are many ways to assist with the blood drive. I always need helpers to assist one month before the drive to spread the word and helpers to assist on the day of the drive,” stated Ms. Lovelett. Students interested in assisting with the next blood drive, which will be on March 21, 2017, should email Ms. Lovelett at “firstname.lastname@example.org” or visit her in room 3E15.