SADD Club Hosts Annual Blood Drive with New COVID Restrictions

Guidance+counselor+Chris+Hempsted+sits+to+have+blood+drawn.+She+tries+to+donate+blood+as+often+as+medically+acceptable.+

Guidance counselor Chris Hempsted sits to have blood drawn. She tries to donate blood as often as medically acceptable.

SARAH ZEHNDER, STAFF WRITER

   On Tuesday, October 13, Trinity Prep hosted a blood drive on campus. Many students and teachers volunteered their time and donated. The OneBlood organization partners with many hospitals in the area, including Winter Park Memorial and Arnold Palmer, and helps save lives every day. According to the OneBlood organization, one donation can save up to three lives.

   Trinity’s blood drives are sponsored and organized by the club Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). The President of SADD, senior Bennett O’Connor, hopes to continue to host blood drives and urges everyone eligible (those 16 or older and medically able) to donate through Trinity. SADD also encourages those eligible to donate on their own at one of the many events OneBlood regularly sponsors throughout Central Florida. OneBlood provides incentives to their donors like free movie tickets, t-shirts, and snacks.

   Due to COVID-19, OneBlood has made adjustments to keep their staff and donors safe, so people can still donate blood. For example, social distancing and masks are required inside every Big Red Bus, OneBlood’s mobile blood donation centers. 

   “Trinity didn’t have to change much about the preparation for the blood donation,” Bennett O’Connor, President of SADD, said, “I needed to make sure there was enough space for two buses by the RAC because not as many donors were allowed in the buses due to social distancing.”

   Upper school guidance counselor Chris Hempsted has been a frequent donor most of her life.

   “When I was twelve I had major back surgery, and I donated my own blood to be given back to me for the surgery, and then I really started [donating],” Hempsted said.

   Hempsted tries to donate every 56 days, as often as is medically allowed. Before the 13th, she donated once during the pandemic, in July. She says OneBlood now requires a COVID-19 questionnaire and has guidelines in place to maintain social distancing.

   Due to the pandemic, OneBlood started offering free COVID-19 antibody tests to donors. If a donor’s blood contains antibodies, their convalescent plasma, plasma containing COVID-19 antibodies, can benefit others currently battling the virus.

   As stated on the OneBlood website, donating plasma that contains antibodies to a current patient can help boost the patient’s immune system and potentially help them recover.” 

   According to the OneBlood website, 37% of the world’s population is eligible to donate blood, however, less than 3% actually do. As a result, blood shortages are common. With the addition of COVID-19, even fewer people are willing to donate blood, which is dangerous for those in critical condition. 

   “Even though COVID is not a disease that affects your blood, there are fewer people out there willing to donate because of the virus,” Hempsted said, “It’s even more critical now for those who are comfortable to go out and donate blood.” 

   To combat constant blood shortages, OneBlood seeks out high schools like Trinity. The goal of holding these blood drives is to encourage young people to get in the routine of donating blood and hopefully recruiting lifelong donors.

   “You can save lives by giving blood; it’s so important because so many people need it,” Hempsted said.