Students take initiative at PHS Red Cross club’s first blood drive

On May 26, the PHS Red Cross club hosted their first blood drive in the New Gym. The club worked with American Red Cross staff, who came to PHS between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. to draw blood from student volunteers. The initial goal was to get a total of 70 donors. However, because some PHS students did not meet the height, weight, or age requirement, the Red Cross Club leaders, Simran Kaur ’18 and Lana Musa ’18, expected about 55 pints of blood to be donated in total, with each donor contributing approximately one pint of blood.

Each blood donation took about 10 minutes per student and after the donation, and students were able to rest while Red Cross club members cared for them by providing them with juice and baked goods.

According to the club, the blood drive has become an important event, due to the impact the donations can have on patients in need of a blood transfusion.

Red Cross staff collaborated with the PHS Red Cross Club to collect blood from various students on May 26. photo by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Brian/" title="View all of this person's work">"Brian</a></span>

Red Cross staff collaborated with the PHS Red Cross Club to collect blood from various students on May 26.
photo by Brian Li

“[Donating blood] is the most direct way of saving lives, because people need blood transfusions. It only takes about 10 minutes to donate, and you’re actually saving three lives for every pint of blood you donate,” said Musa.

Some students felt that because the drive was hosted at PHS, it made it more accessible for people to donate blood.

“I very likely wouldn’t have donated if I wasn’t offered the opportunity at PHS because I wouldn’t have been exposed to it. We should do more events like these at PHS to increase student interest and support,” said Winston Peloso ’18.

Donors also felt that the blood drive was a positive way to help others.

“Donating blood is important because it’s something we can all do to help people in need and support research as well as keep in mind [the] efforts to help people that we can and should participate in,” said Peloso.

Months prior to the blood drive, the PHS Red Cross club had already begun planning and preparing for the event.

“We created our own Blood Drive Board made up of PHS Red Cross Club members who helped advertise [the event]. Information was taken, compiled, and processed to become passes [to be exempted from class]. We plan to keep [the blood drive] a tradition at PHS,” said a club officer, Eliz Dikener ’18.

The blood drive had various benefits and purposes for the club as well as the Princeton community.

“This is actually one of our first big events, so just the fact that it’s happening shows a lot of progress for the club. One of the purposes [of the blood drive] is to obviously help people who need the blood, and then on top of that to raise more awareness of Red Cross’ existence in the school and how people in the community can help,” said Kaur.

Similarly, the blood drive attracted newcomers who had never previously donated blood.

“I hadn’t donated blood before but I’ve always [wanted to] and I heard about others donating, and I was finally at the age where I met all the requirements,” said Alexa Zammit ’18.

Aside from the blood drive, the PHS Red Cross Club also participates in several other projects. For example, the club has started projects such as the measles initiative, fundraising events for funds towards house fires, and hosting dances.

PHS Red Cross Club leaders stressed the importance of getting involved in Red Cross activities even if students are unable to donate blood due to any type of health restrictions.

“[People who are unable to donate their blood] could donate their time. [The Red Cross] has a counsel for New Jersey,” said Musa. “It’s a great leadership opportunity, and it’s an awesome way to give up your time in an area like community service.”

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