Gifts of life: Second blood drive of year slated for February 12

By Daniel Garrido, Staff Writer 

 Verbum Dei High School will hold its second blood drive of the school year in conjunction with Cedars-Sinai Blood Services on February 12, from 8:00 A.M. until 2:30 P.M in the Eagle’s Nest.  Students 16 years of age and older are encouraged to give the “gift of life.”  The now three-times-yearly drives are coordinated by Jeff Bonino-Britsch, Vice President of Operations. 

To participate in the blood drive, one must be 16 years of age or older. Sixteen-year-old student must complete a permission slip signed by parent or legal guardian to donate blood.  Donors 17 years of age are no longer required to supply a permission slip.

Potential donors must select the time/period that they prefer to donate blood in. Yes! Sadly, donors will miss a class period, so they are encouraged to select from courses in which they are in good standing.

If one is going to donate blood, the procedure of the day begins like any normal school day.  Donors are called by a student helper with the blood drive and escorted to the Eagles Nest, where the mobile donation unit sets up its operations.

Donors will sign in and receive a questionnaire about their health status, health history, and recent travel.

After the donor’s answers are reviewed, his or her vital signs will be checked and his or her blood will be tested to determine if the donor’s iron level is an acceptable range.

At this point, donors actually offer their life-saving blood in a process that takes approximately 15 minutes.

“People who have not donated blood ask if it is painful,” said longtime blood donor and blood drive booster John Stradley.  “I tell them that it feels like a light pinch on the forearm, and I might even demonstrate such a pinch on myself,” said the VDHS English teacher.

After donating blood, donors are asked to stay seated in the Eagles Nest for 15 minutes and to enjoy provided snacks and beverages. Donors then return to class with post-donation instructions.

One notable instruction for athletes and the athletically-inclined is that no strenuous activity or heavy lifting is to be done for the remainder of the day.  Athletes may return to their normal activity on the following day.

The goal for the blood drive is to motivate multiple recipients to participate in the blood drive and to see the number of student participants increase each year, said Bonino-Britsch. 

“How do we motivate people to donate blood?” asked Bonino-Britsch as he consistently tries to achieve the goals set for each blood drive. From this question he derived a number of incentives: raffle prizes awarded to the students who participated in the blood drive and free dress for participants.  Cedars-Sinai Blood Services also provides each donor with either a complementary tee shirt or a coupon for a pint of Baskin-Robbins ice cream. 

Bonino-Britsch first awarded the raffle prizes last school year and found a rapid increase of participants willing to donate blood. 

Past raffle prizes have included coupons for a pint of ice cream, Verb caps, Verb pint glasses (“for juice,” said Bonino-Britsch), as well as two $25 gift cards, which serve as the grand prize.   Drawing for the raffle prize winners is generally done during Community on a subsequent Friday morning in the Eagles Nest.

Drawing winners for the first blood drive were juniors Kameron Banner, Geovanny Martinez, Elliot Lopez, Jonathan Ayala,  Jamaine Adams, and senior Jesus Estrada.  There were six chances of winning a prize, but the ultimate prize of donating is giving the gift of life. 

“It’s for good cause,” said senior Brian Cisneros. 

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