Photo courtesy of Cobb County Government

Sacramento Country Day’s annual Blood Drive brings community together

As Sacramento Country Day’s season of giving arrived, students donated blood to the American Red Cross during the annual Blood Drive on Nov. 3. The drive took place in the Benvenuti Gymnasium. 

The Country Day Blood Drive is a charitable event where people can donate their blood to maintain general supply or for use in case of emergencies or shortages. 

Seniors Zoe Genetos and Derek Taylor and sophomore Zema Nasirov are the new leaders of the Blood Drive. 

Physical Education Department Chair Michelle Myers helped the student coordinators run the Blood Drive.

“Someday, you or a loved one may need blood, and by donating, you create an awareness about the importance of giving,” Myers said. “We all want blood available to us in life saving emergencies. One blood donation can save up to three lives.”

There is an age requirement for students interested in donating blood to the drive. Students 16 and older were eligible to donate, although students who are 16 required parental consent.

Donors had the option to either walk-in or make an appointment online, though online registration was primarily for outside community members who wanted to donate blood.

There are two types of blood donations: a regular blood donation and a Power Red donation. 

A regular blood donation gives 16 ounces, or one pint, of blood. Usually, these donations take 10 to 15 minutes, with an additional 15 minutes of mandatory resting time. 

On the other hand, a Power Red donation is an automated process that separates the donor’s red blood cells from the other blood components. After, the donor’s plasma and platelets are safely returned back to them. Power Red donations can give almost double the amount of red blood cells than regular blood donations in around an hour and 45 minutes. 

As a result, the requirements for Power Red donations are much more strict compared to regular donations. 

Male donors have to be 17 or older, weigh at least 130 pounds and be over 5 feet 1 inch tall. Female donors have to be at least 19 years old, weigh at least 150 pounds and be over the height of 5 feet 3 inches. 

Power Red donations are also dependent on the blood type of the donor. Only people with types O, A negative and B negative were eligible for Power Red donations. 

After donating blood, donors went to a snack area that the student coordinators had set up. The new coordinators were able to converse with the donors. 

Genetos talked about her previous experiences working at the recovery area and how she was able to bond with the donors. 

“You can talk about anything in the world. There was a park ranger once and he told me a story about literally fighting a bear. There are some crazy stories,” Genetos said. 

Nasirov said she enjoyed being able to have day-to-day conversations with the donors. 

“While we were at the waiting area, we got to learn more about people’s history with blood donations. A lot of people there donated more than a gallon of their blood throughout their whole life,” Nasirov said. 

Last year, an important aspect of choosing the new coordinators included observing how they communicated with donors and handled different situations.

To choose the new coordinators, previous Blood Drive leader Jonah David, ’23, and Myers interviewed Taylor, Genetos and Nasirov. 

“It would have been really cool to be able to shadow Jonah for a few more drives to know exactly what we do,” Genetos said. 

This year, Nasirov will be watching and helping the coordinators, for she will be running the Blood Drive after Genetos and Taylor graduate. 

The coordinators made other adjustments to the Blood Drive as well. 

For example, last year, they met with Myers and their coordinator from American Red Cross, Kristen Merrill, to add an extra date for the drive. With the new addition, there will be a total of three blood drives this year. 

“You can donate every three months, and we really wanted to add one more date,” Genetos said. 

The coordinators also decided to add more beds. Together, they nearly doubled the number of beds the drive provided in previous years. 

Genetos talked about all the extra space in the gym and how she would always see so many people waiting. She wanted to “speed up the process.”

 “It’s a beneficial community service and a wonderful club to have for students who like building philanthropy or their medical resume,” Myers said. “But most importantly, it’s about the giving.”

The next two Blood Drives this year will take place on Feb. 2 and April 5.

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