CCHS students donate hundreds of pints of blood
By BRITTANY FHOLER
More than 300 students at Copperas Cove High School signed up to save lives through blood donation for a two-day blood drive to benefit Carter Blood Care, organized by Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA)- Future Health Professionals.
The blood drive lasted from Tuesday morning through Wednesday and saw 326 students recruited by their peers in the HOSA organization to donate blood. For each person donating, three adult lives or five infant lives could be saved.
Within the first hour-and-a-half Tuesday morning, 49 students had already signed in to begin the process of donating blood.
Alexis Grasso, a senior at CCHS and HOSA chapter president, shared that the blood drive was planned weeks ahead and that organizers factored everything from recruiting donors to creating passes for the students to get out of class to making sure Carter Blood Care had whatever they needed.
Since 2010, the CCHS HOSA chapter has won an award for most units collected among 6A schools in the area. Last year, CCHS collected 492 units of blood, which saved approximately 1,476 lives.
Grasso said through HOSA she has been able to strengthen her leadership skills and gain a better understanding of what her future as a medical student will be like.
“HOSA also provides students the opportunity to be involved with the community and one of the ways that we can is through these blood drives,” Grasso said.
They organize about three blood drives per school year, with the next one being held in May with the date to be determined.
Through these blood drives, “we are directly impacting our community, in the best way possible,” Grasso said.
Stephanie Jardot, a recruiter with Carter Blood Care, explained that blood donation is so important because there are patients who need blood products to save their lives. The blood collected through Carter Blood Care is distributed to local hospitals such as Metroplex in Killeen, Seton Medical Center in Harker Heights, Coryell Memorial in Gatesville, Rollins Brook Community Hospital in Lampasas, the V.A. Hospital in Temple, Providence Hospital and Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco and occasionally McLane Children’s Hospital in Temple among others.
Jardot said that from last year to this year, the number of students participating had increased.
“The more students and groups like HOSA are willing to take on a community project and doing a blood drive, it’s amazing how much awareness goes out into that, you know, so that all of the students here know that we do need blood products, and there are patients out there who depend on them to help save their lives and to help save their loved ones’ lives,” Jardot said.
During the winter, the number of people donating blood drops due to all of the holidays and vacations, same as during the summer, Jardot said.
“High schools make up about 25 percent of our donors so when school’s out, it’s kind of tough to make up that percentage, so we rely on a lot of churches and businesses and community blood drives too and kind of step up to cover that percentage,” Jardot added.
CCHS senior Hailey Hawkins donated blood for the third time ever during Tuesday’s blood drive. She wants to go into the medical field after high school and knows donating blood can be the simplest way to save lives, especially since it only takes 30 minutes, she said.
“The pain of this needle stick doesn’t compare to the pain the patients who need my blood are in,” Hawkins said.
Kenneth Novy, also a senior, said he initially decided to donate blood as an excuse to get out of class but eventually saw how important his donation was.
He was told he had a special blood type, A-Negative, that is important for hospitals to keep stock of. His blood donation could end up saving his own life, he added.
Novy added that he is a Boy Scout and perceives blood donation as his Good Turn, or good deed, of the day.
“It feels a lot better than just getting out of class when you realize that someone actually needs it,” Novy said.
Giovanni Quiles, also a senior, said he’s donated blood four or five times- all at CCHS blood drives- and views it as a way to help others.
“It’s a tiny little pinch then it’s all done,” Quiles said. “It feels amazing knowing that I helped someone out and I saved a life possibly.”
For information on the next Carter Blood Care blood drive, visit their website at www.carterbloodcare.org.