Giving the Gift of Life: Chaminade’s Annual Junior Blood Drive Helps Soften Blood Crisis

By Andrew Donnelly ’20

          Of all the gifts one can give to another, the most precious among them is life. The juniors at Chaminade High School had the opportunity to give this gift to many people by donating their blood. In doing so, they saved hundreds of lives. The New York area is experiencing a blood-shortage crisis, and blood donations are critically needed. By donating their blood, these Chaminade juniors are, in a literal sense, following the example of Christ. An estimated 4.5 million Americans need a blood transfusion every year; according to the American Red Cross, less than 38% of the population is even eligible to donate, so the supply is struggling to meet the demand. The juniors at Chaminade High School, however, did their part on Friday, May 10th, donating 147 pints of blood.

         The annual Chaminade Junior Blood Drive is held in the school gymnasium every year during school hours. Nearly 150 juniors signed up to give.  Between 8:15 A.M. and 2:00 P.M., the conscientious students who participated went to the gym in groups. Upon their arrival, their first course of action was to complete the registration process. After registering, the juniors proceeded to fill out a form, take a quick blood test, and answer a survey, measuring each student’s eligibility to donate. Upon the completion of the survey, the young Flyers began the donation process.

                    The blood donors had two options: donate whole blood or a combination of platelets and plasma. Whole blood donations, the more common of the two, is the extraction of pure blood from the donor’s vein. Each donor gives about one pint of blood, which will be used for those undergoing surgery and to aid trauma victims. The process takes between ten and fifteen minutes. The process of donating platelets and plasma, however, is a more arduous process. The actual extraction lasts about thirty minutes. Plasma donations helps blood to clot in patients whose blood is too thin.

         After extraction the extraction, the donor stays in a reclined position for a minute, then slowly standing to prevent dizziness. The juniors then recovered a bit with refreshments and snacks. Water helps to put fluids back in the bloodstream, and the salt from the snacks helps to the body retain those fluids. After donating blood, the students went back to class to continue their school day as usual.

         The Book of John says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” As Catholics, we are all called to live lives of charity and love. The most fundamental act of love is embedded in sacrifice. To sacrifice one’s time and body for another is the epitome of love. Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. Our duty as faithful Christians is to reflect Jesus’ sacrificial love onto others. The Junior Blood Drive at Chaminade encompasses the spirit of love and charity that all Catholics should embrace.