DOWNEY - For most people, the idea of a needle drawing blood from the median cubital vein is not a pleasant thought, but more than 500 students and teachers volunteered to donate blood at Warren High School on March 23.From 5:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., the gym was abuzz with students, teachers and Red Cross staff. Initially, over 500 people were signed up to donate blood, but due to complications and strict requirements, only 354 people were able to actually donate. Although the goal of 400 pints of blood was not met, Warren did raise four more pints than last year. "It seems scary at first, but in the end you feel satisfied because the amount of lives you save makes up for it," said Edward Posadas who donated on the Alyx machine. In a regular blood donation, one pint of blood is drawn and can save three lives, but an Alyx machine takes two pints of red blood cells while returning the plasma along with saline solution back to the body. Requirements were a draw back for blood donors as many people were turned down due to lack of hemoglobin, lack of iron, not meeting weight requirements, recent travel to certain countries, having a tattoo less than 12 months old, and much more. Sixteen-year-olds are required to have a consent form but those that are 17 or older can donate without parent permission. Some students had a negative experience at the blood drive. "I didn't weigh enough for my height. I felt useless because I had eaten healthy for the past three days to make sure my hemoglobin was high enough because a previous time it wasn't. I did it just to get rejected. I was really sad and made a fuss about it," said senior Kaitlin Sullivan. "It was absolutely a horrible experience. One of the worst pains I've ever felt," said senior Nicole Arevalo. "American Red Cross will never get my blood again. Its been more than two weeks and I still have a disease looking bruise shaped like Africa." Arvelo explained that her arm was poked several times by the needle. In the end, her blood flow clotted, so she could not donate because her body was not able to pump out a full pint. Despite some of the experiences, others felt helpful and ready to donate blood again. "I'm always ready to help out others in need. The fact that I get out of class for a couple periods doesn't hurt either," said student Luis Bravo. "It was fun being able to help an event take place at Warren," said senior Lorus Hendricks, a co-commissioner of community relations who graduates this year. "I'm glad its the last time I'm doing it though," added Hendricks, as she is graduating this year. Warren High School donated 354 pints of blood and helped save more than 1,000 lives.
********** Published: April 7, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 51