Red Cross Comes to New West

On Friday, September 22nd, New West hosted its second annual blood drive with the American Red Cross. A total of 36 students and parents donated, totalling about four gallons of blood. This much blood has the potential to save 93 lives by providing transfusions to patients in need. Special thanks goes to seniors Adam F. and Charlie R. for donating power red, which takes approximately twice as much blood as whole blood donation by collecting red blood cells and returning plasma and platelets back to the donor.

The blood drive was facilitated by New West’s Red Cross Club, which is led by 11th-grade student Oliver Pizarro. The American Red Cross regularly hosts blood drives across the country. Blood is in constant demand to serve the medical needs of patients who require blood transfusions because of injuries and illnesses, including hemophilia and cancer. Donating blood is especially important in light of the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas that left hundreds of injured people in need on transfusions. The Red Cross began blood services during World War II because of the monumental need for blood to heal wounded soldiers. Today, the Red Cross has expanded to collect six million units of blood annually, which constitutes forty percent of the country’s blood supply.

While it is easy to donate blood, the variety of blood types make safe blood transfusions more difficult. There are four main blood types which determine a person’s ability to accept transfusions or give blood to other people. Type O is the universal donor, meaning a person with any blood type would be able to receive a transfusion from an O donor, consequently increasing the demand for type O blood. When completing blood transfusions, the Rh factor also plays a role in matching blood types. The presence of the Rh antigen on red blood cells is denoted by a (+) positive sign, whereas the absence is denoted by a (-) negative sign. Blood types are matched by their sign as well as their letters.

Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 12.46.14 PM
This chart is courtesy of the American Red Cross.

Donating blood is a simple process and is highly rewarding. For those interested in donating blood, check out this link to find a blood drive nearby.  

Sources:

“Red Cross Blood Program Began More Than 50 Years Ago.” American Red Cross, 1 Mar. 2013, http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Red-Cross-Blood-Program-Began-More-Than-50-Years-Ago.
“Blood Types.” American Red Cross, http://www.redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/blood-types.html.
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