Blood. Needles pierced through McLean student’s skin as they watched a pint of their own blood drain from their body. On November 15th, McLean high school hosted a blood drive, sponsored by INOVA, in the dance room.
“I decided to donate blood because it was for a good cause. I believe that it is very important for people to contribute to these types of donations as it can save someone’s life,” senior Doyeon Yoo said.
36 Highlanders stepped up to donate their blood, but INOVA expected larger numbers considering the size of the school.
“McLean only had 36 donors today, which is the lowest collection from any high school we’ve been to,” Donor recruitment manager Heather Wade said. “Every donor is critical for the health and well being of our community. Hospitals are 95% full and 17% of those will need a blood transfusion.”
The American Red Cross is currently experiencing severe blood shortages, and INOVA relies on donor participants from high schools to keep their blood supply sufficient for patients who need those operations.
“High schools make up 35-40% of our collections throughout the year, so coming to schools is a really big opportunity for us and a great way to find new donors in the community,” Senior Account Manager at INOVA Blood Donor Services John Ronan said. “That’s why you hear that a lot of blood banks are in need over the summer because schools are out and we can’t go to them.”
Although donating a pint of blood can seem daunting, it is perfectly healthy, and the human body replenishes the blood volume within 48 hours.
“I feel great afterwards. I know some people who felt lightheaded, but honestly as soon as I got out of the chair, I was ready to go,” senior Einmon Tha said.
Even if students weren’t able to donate, INOVA will be back for another blood drive at McLean either in the spring or next year.
“We try to go to each school twice a year, fall and spring semester,” Ronan said. “This blood will go back to our lab located in Sterling Virginia for complete testing and then it will go out to our hospitals.’