Written by Stephy Jackson
On Thursday, Jan. 25, the Stanford Blood Center collaborated with iMed Club, Youth Community Service-Interact Club (YCS-I) and Sources of Strength to host a blood drive in the library. The blood drive’s purpose was to collect blood for patients in hospitals and spread awareness to students about the importance of donating blood. Stanford account manager Monica Doleshel helps coordinate all high school blood drives in the area that are in collaboration with the Stanford Blood Center. “ The purpose of the blood drive is to collect blood from blood donor volunteers—preferably students, but staff and significant others are also welcome to donate,” she said. “Once that blood has passed all the tests required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is then separated and sent to our local hospitals to patients who need blood transfusions.”
English teacher Diane Ichikawa reached out to Doleshel to start a blood drive at Gunn. “I was thrilled to be back and running blood drives again [at Gunn],” Doleshel said. Ichikawa was motivated to start the blood drive following the shootings in Las Vegas in October of last year. “My family lives in Las Vegas, and part of the reason why we wanted to do a blood drive this year is because we felt we needed to do something to help after the shooting that happened in October,” Ichikawa said.
Along with teachers, many students contributed to organizing the blood drive. “ The students played a huge part in getting all of this rolling,” science teacher Angela Merchant said. “ They made all the appointments [and] they organized all the volunteers to be here.”
Many of those involved in organizing the blood drive were there to spread the message that the need for blood never ends. “It’s important to start at a high school level donating blood because there’s an age requirement of 16, which is right in the heart of high school age,” Doleshel said. “It’s good to get them started and educating them to understand that the need is 24/7. Understand that there’s a need every single day and that we shouldn’t wait until there’s some big catastrophe to get involved in donating.”
Around 75 students signed up to donate blood on Thursday, including junior Chloe Shrager. Shrager worked in the Stanford Blood Center over the summer and stressed the importance of donating blood. “I think that donating blood is a really simple and really easy way to give back if you’re healthy enough,” Shrager said. “I’ve seen first hand how important it is for people who are in need [of] blood transplants, and it’s a super valuable resource that is in high demand.”
Junior Edward Tang and sophomore Michael Tao are both members of the iMed club, which helped coordinate the blood drive. “ There’s always a need for blood, so get- ting as much blood as possible is always important,” Tao said. The iMed club has been working to spread awareness about the constant need for blood donations. “People don’t recognize that it’s not just during disasters, and obviously the Las Vegas tragedy prompted a lot of response,” Tang said. “A lot of people wanted to donate blood after that, but even [during] the times between tragedies there’s still a need.”
The Stanford Blood Center, along with the iMed club, YCS-I and Sources of Strength, is trying to make the Blood Drive an annual event at Gunn. They hope to spread awareness about the signifcance of getting involved and donating blood on a regular basis.