The UCLA Blood Drive car came to North Hollywood High School (NHHS) five times this year, and students could either donate their blood or volunteer to help run the events. The last service for this year was offered on May 28.
Deborah Alter, a community liaison with the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center, expressed her gratitude towards the NHHS students for their participation.
“NHHS collected over 800 units of lifesaving blood for our patients this year,” she told JSR. “I have worked with NHHS for over ten years, and it is so wonderful to see all of the hundreds of donors come out to support each of our blood drives.”
A large number of students stood in long lines at the drives to donate their blood, even at the risk of missing classes.
“When you donate blood you help save the life of one of our patients,” Alter said, “and the patients families are always so grateful to the thousands of high school students who roll up their sleeves to save a life!”
However, some students were reluctant to donate blood out of fear. Many spectators got goosebumps when they saw pale student donors unable to stand up after donating. But thanks to the comforting and encouraging student volunteers, many students gave off positive energy even right after their donations.
Many procedures, such as kidney, heart, and liver transplants, require blood transfusions. The hospital at UCLA also has many trauma and cancer patients who also need these transfusions. Consistent blood donation is needed because donated blood is unable to be stored for a long period of time.
However, the high demand for donated blood is often met with little supply. Luckily, compassionate students, such as Denny Min from NHHS, consider this as the very reason to donate blood.
In an interview with JSR, Min stated, “I am aware that blood for transfusions [is] constantly in high demand… so if it only takes me 10 to 15 minutes of my day to potentially save a person’s life for years, I think it’s a worthwhile sacrifice to make.”
Alter is proud of high school volunteers, telling JSR, “I think it is great to see such a fantastic turn out! For many high school students, donating blood is a rite of passage, and most donors who I meet who are older always tell me that they donated for the first time in high school. Chances are, if you donate in high school you will continue donating throughout your life.”