Students donate and volunteer in annual blood drive

Blot photo by Delia Noone.

Blot photo by Delia Noone.

Caroline Savage

On Friday, Feb. 27, 68 students and parents lined up to participate in the National Honor Society’s (NHS) annual blood drive. The event was run by the Central Jersey Blood Center, a blood bank headquartered in Toms River, Howell and Shrewsbury.

Although 68 people attempted to donate, the blood bank’s phlebotomists turned away a number of potential donors for a variety of reasons, including iron deficiency, low weight, dehydration or illness. NHS adviser and math teacher Justine Lane approximates that about 50 people ended up donating. The proportion of those turned away wasn’t unusual, Lane said.

“Usually, even though we get about 70 appointments, we’ll usually get about 50 donating,” Lane said.

Parents were also encouraged to donate and NHS members received a point for each parent or relative they brought in.

“The parents are really important too,” Lane said. “We probably had about 20 or 25 parents [donate].”

NHS also hosted a kick-off assembly two weeks before the blood drive for juniors and seniors in order to educate them on the event and encourage them to participate. The assembly featured speeches from Lane, principal James Gleason and a representative from the Central Jersey Blood Center, who informed students of the requirements to donate.

According to the Central Jersey Blood Center, donors have to be at least 16, must weigh at least 120 pounds and cannot have any symptoms of a communicable illness. Additionally, school nurse Dot Condon personally approved all potential student donors before allowing them to proceed.

Junior Parthesh Patel of Freehold donated blood for the first time during the drive. For Patel, the choice to donate was simple.

“I thought it was a good thing to do. I met the requirements and it was a chance to help,” he said.

After donating, all donors went to the “wellness room,” which was set up in room 144, for required rest, hydration and snacks. The blood bank’s staff provided them with water and a small snack immediately after donating, as well.

Patel reported that his overall experience was positive and hopes to donate again in the future.

“It was pretty chill,” Patel said. “I would do it again next year.”