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Saving lives, one pint of blood at a time

Senior+Ayianna+Jackson+sits+beside+a+pint+of+blood+as+she+cleans+her+arm+off+after+her+fourth+time+giving+blood+in+three+years.
Senior Ayianna Jackson sits beside a pint of blood as she cleans her arm off after her fourth time giving blood in three years.

Senior Ayianna Jackson sits beside a pint of blood as she cleans her arm off after her fourth time giving blood in three years.

Theo Yoder

Theo Yoder

Senior Ayianna Jackson sits beside a pint of blood as she cleans her arm off after her fourth time giving blood in three years.

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A pint of blood from each student can be the deciding factor on whether a person lives or dies. The SCA sponsored blood drive held by Virginia Blood Services takes place twice a year. Students ages 16 and older have the opportunity to donate their blood while Student Council Association members organize and facilitate the logistics of the event. Account manager for Virginia Blood Services, Mary Knapp, has been organizing blood drives for high schools around the area for about one year. Her role as account manager includes supporting the volunteer blood drive coordinators in order to ensure they have the most successful drive possible.

 

“I really enjoy talking to people and it is so gratifying to be a part of drives like this where people come out and give up their time and literally themselves to help save lives,” Knapp said.

 

Blood drives held at high schools are considered mobile blood drives. Besides high schools, these mobile drives go anywhere from churches to businesses to Costco and Walmart. The team will go any place where people are ready to help organize the event. In this case, those people were the SCA members.

 

“That’s one thing that we are so impressed with about this particular high school. It is very engaged by the students,” Knapp said.

 

Virginia Blood Services has a high school scholarship program where if a school commits to doing two blood drives per year, that school receives points for donating blood. These points can later be turned into scholarship dollars given to the students. After an application is filled out, the selected students will receive that scholarship money. However, the student must have donated blood or volunteered to help at one of the drives.

 

Each year, students come to the blood drive who have given blood before and some, for the first time. Junior Abdullah Afridi donated his blood for the first time during this blood drive.

 

“Before I was nervous, but now I’m doing good. I thought it would hurt when they stuck the needle in my arm, but it didn’t hurt at all,” Afridi said.

 

Afridi decided this year was the year to give blood because it was the first year he met the age requirement of 16 years old.

 

“I want to help people who don’t have good blood and who need blood transfusions,” Afridi said.

 

In contrast to Afridi, senior Ayianna Jackson has donated her blood for a total of four times in the last three years. She decided to give her blood when her father was diagnosed with cancer.

 

“He is no longer able to give his blood and because of that, I have seen people and know people who do need it,” Jackson said. “It makes me proud of myself because I have seen people that give blood once and they don’t like it and never give blood again. I don’t plan on stopping.”

 

The next SCA sponsored blood drive will be held in April of 2018. This will make it the second blood drive of the school year and another chance for students to donate blood for hospitals and collect scholarship points for the school.

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