Skip class, save some lives, and then eat a salty snack — not a bad way to spend a Friday at CB. Christian Brothers’ biannual blood drive run by the Sports Medicine students and staff is a great opportunity for CB students to give back. Many high schoolers are afraid to give blood, but donors […]
Skip class, save some lives, and then eat a salty snack — not a bad way to spend a Friday at CB. Christian Brothers’ biannual blood drive run by the Sports Medicine students and staff is a great opportunity for CB students to give back. Many high schoolers are afraid to give blood, but donors make it clear that the process is really more rewarding than frightening.
Blood drives save lives. So why do such a small percentage of students choose to donate blood? Fear is the main reason; A fear of needles prevents some and a fear of passing out prevents others. Some people choose not to donate out of laziness; they just don’t realize how straightforward the process really is.
Students can sign up at lunch or break during the weeks before the blood drive. Then on the day of, donors enter the Jack Witry Field House and are put into the care of staff from Vitalant, the nonprofit organization that hosts CB’s blood drive. Two heroes who signed up for CB’s most recent fall blood drive are Mia Fraga (‘20) and Mariah Escobar (‘20).
Mia is a returning blood donor, and this year she convinced Mariah to join her. During their C Set, the two headed to the gym together, ready to save a life. Walking into the field house and seeing rows of donation chairs with IVs and blood bags can be pretty intimidating to student donors. Needless to say, Mia and Mariah’s nerves had built up before they had even checked in. Luckily, the kind blood drive staff was there to keep the duo calm and collected.
“When I get nervous, I talk a lot, so I was scared they were gonna get annoyed with me. But turns out they’re really nice,” says Mariah.
“The people here are really nice,” Mia added. “They talk to each other like they’re life long homies.”
Some students feel that the finger prick, which ensures that someone’s blood is donation-ready, is the worst part. But many donors agree that once you’re past this pinch, it’s smooth sailing.
“The finger prick thing… it’s hurts! ’Cause you have more nerve receptors there I think,” says Mia.
The process of donating blood begins long before the dreaded finger prick, though. It is paramount that donors have enough water and iron in their system by the time they get their IV. Hydration is one of the most important preparatory steps because almost half of our blood is made up of water.
“Today I drank a lot of water and I ate breakfast, which I usually don’t do. I had two eggs and I snacked a little throughout the day,” says Mariah.
Being hydrated made Mariah’s blood-donating experience easier and her recovery afterward faster. She admits that drinking so much water did come at a price, though.
“I had to go pee a lot today, but it was worth it,” Mariah says. “I almost couldn’t give blood because he couldn’t find a good vein, but then we tried again and the dude was like, ‘There’s a juicy one,’ so we used it.”
While students are lying in the donation chairs, they are encouraged to roll a stress-ball-like object to increase the blood flow in their arm. With faster flowing blood, students can fill up their collection bag quicker.
“When I kept having to roll the thing, I would end up moving my arm up and down slightly and then the needle would move and I’d feel it,” says Mariah.
Coming into this experience, Mariah’s biggest fear was passing out. The blood drive staff takes many precautions to prevent these occurrences, though. There are tables stacked with delicious salty snacks waiting for donors as soon as they finish giving blood. At this year’s fall blood drive, Mia found her favorite snack to be the goldfish, whereas Mariah could not rank anything above the canned lemon-lime Gatorades.
“They only bring the Gatorade in the cans out for the blood drive… and they have it in my favorite flavor,” says Mariah.
Other than the food, Mariah and Mia also enjoyed the comfortable patient chairs and upbeat music that accompanied their donation session. It was not only rewarding to save a life, but downright relaxing.
“They had some boppin music… and it was so comfy,” Mariah recalled. “I was like, I could really just knock out right here. Like go to sleep knockout. Not knock out knock out.”
Some students experience CB’s Blood Drive in a completely different way. Helping with set-up, check-in, check-ups, and clean-ups, are none other than Sport Medicine’s Jimmie Thompson (‘20) and Annalyse Wolf (‘22).
“We set up the tables and chairs and get everything ready for Vitalant to come in and set their stuff up,” says Jimmie. “We’re basically setting up the infrastructure for everything.”
Although Jimmie helps with set up and clean up, he most enjoys greeting donors at check-in throughout the day.
“I just love getting to see everyone come in when I’m working the Blood Drive. The satisfaction of people getting to donate blood and save people’s lives. That’s what I love,” the senior says.
Despite all the good that comes from people donating blood, many students are simply too afraid to sign up.
“Don’t overthink it. That’s probably the most important thing,” says Annalyse.
“A lot of people are afraid of needles, a lot of people have sports constraints, and then some people just don’t want to,” Jimmie says.
But at the end of the day, the benefits far outweigh the cost when it comes to giving blood.
“There’s not really a downside to this because you’re helping a lot of people and saving a lot of lives,” says Jimmie. “You get to skip class. It’s a great experience.”
Approximately 32,000 pints of blood are used each day in the United States. Every three seconds someone needs blood. So sign yourself up for the next CB Blood Drive! Just one pint of donated blood can help save as many as three people’s lives. Be a life saver. Be a hero. Donate some blood.