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Find your “type” at Red Cross’s blood drive on June 1st

Ishika Jain

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Red Cross, a club at Oakton aims at giving high school students the knowledge and skills to prepare the school and their peers for emergencies. Oakton’s Red Cross holds an event each year that plays an integral part in bringing the Oakton community together and helping those in need. For the past 2 years, the Red Cross Club has held a blood drive. Before president, Afia Habib (12) took over the club, the blood drive was a popular event at Oakton. However it died off 3 years ago, and Habib resumed conducting the blood drive last year. Many people were enthusiastic and willing to donating blood, but did not have a place to give back, which inspired Habib to resume conducting the blood drive. “The people, who really wanted to donate blood, motivated me to start the blood drive again” said Habib.

The blood is donated to the Fairfax sector at Inova Hospital. Certified people, who’s main job is to help high schools in collecting blood, will come to Oakton on June 1st and collect blood from students. Anyone above the age of 16 is eligible to get screened at the blood drive, where professionals will determine if the teacher or student is healthy enough to donate blood. The screening process is conducted by professionals where they perform a tick test on the donor and get a small sample of blood. The blood is then analyzed for nutrient levels, based on these readings the professional is able to determine if one is healthy enough to donate blood. Students who have vitamin deficiencies or if one is under their BMI (Body Mass Index), one can unfortunately not donate blood. After one has donated blood, professionals will also test to see that one’s past history will not affect the quality of the blood. For instance, if one smokes they would make sure that the quality of the blood is still high after donating.

At last year’s blood drive, 120 pints of blood were donated by the Oakton community (each member can donate 1 pint of blood). 200 people came out for the blood drive, but 80 people were not able to donate as they did not pass the screening process. Unfortunately, there are many rules that prevent people from donating. For instance, if a male has an ear piercing, they cannot donate blood.

The blood drive serves importance to not only the Oakton community but also to the group of people receiving this blood. As Habib stated “You have so much blood in your body, and you do not need all of it, especially because you have the ability to replenish it. If someone needs this blood, you’re someone’s type”. The theme for this year’s blood drive is “You’re someone’s type”. If one has the ability to donate, they should take up that opportunity and help someone. Habib stated, “Donating blood isn’t something that everyone has to do, just because they’re human, but it is something that you should do especially if you are healthy enough and are looking out for everyone in your community”.

The Oakton community has shown immense support for this blood drive. For instance, Voices of Oakton, an effort to bring all the clubs together, is recruiting volunteers for the drive and spreading the word to clubs. Teachers, as well, are involved in the blood drive. One security guard donates blood every year there is a blood drive; now that the blood drive has resumed, the security guard will be back to donating their blood. As Habib stated, “It’s incredible because he’s been donating every year and because of how popular the blood drive is, you can imagine how much this one security guard has given to the community”.

There are many moving components to conducting a blood drive. This year, already, there have been a few problems in making sure everyone is doing their job. Habib will not be present for the recruiting process, which makes the drive more stressful as she will not able to oversee the planning. The biggest challenge, currently, is getting donors to show up for the drive and spreading the motivation to donate blood. Habib stated “We tried going to the cafeteria and getting students to sign up, but most people are eating and attention is limited, so advisory is our best shot at this point”. The goal for this year is to get 120 people signed up. It is difficult to get everyone to pay attention to the blood drive as many Oakton community members are not even aware of the drive.

Habib’s favorite part of the blood drive is the enthusiasm and support from the Oakton community. This year Habib is trying to get a geofilter for the big day.

So make sure you come and find out “your type” on June 1st!

On Thursday, May 11th, students helped to make posters and plan the blood drive.

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The student news site of Oakton High School
Find your “type” at Red Cross’s blood drive on June 1st