East Peoria High School senior Morgan Ciota has donated blood twice in her life, once in November, and a second time on March 11, at a blood drive at the school.
“I like to help people,” said Ciota, 17.
She said she plans to donate again in June at the annual Rock ‘N’ Roll Up Your Sleeve blood drive at Peoria’s RiverPlex. But that won’t be the end of her giving.
“I plan to give in college too,” said Ciota, who will attend St. Louis College of Pharmacy this fall. “If they don’t have a blood drive, I’ll try to get one going.”
Ciota was one of many who gave blood Friday at the drive hosted by members of the EPCHS National Honor Society. The blood drive counts as the members’ annual service project. The drive collected 73 pints of blood for the American Red Cross.
“Everyday 38,000 pints of blood are needed to meet the needs of patients in the U.S.,” said American Red Cross Spokeswoman Theresa Kuhlmann.
However, the American Red Cross does not always just provide needed blood to citizens of our nation. The call for help is often heard after tragedy strikes in other parts of the world, like the recent earthquake in Japan.
Kuhlmann said the Japanese Red Cross had not yet asked for assistance as of Friday, but the American Red Cross is prepared to respond and provide blood needed because of the earthquake.
Potential donors must be at least 17 years old, or be 16 years old with a signed parent consent form. Blood donors must also be in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds.
Other aspects of each donor’s health history are discussed as part of the donation process. Individuals who meet all of the qualifications can donate blood every 56 days.
Kuhlmann said only about 5 percent of the 38 percent of the population that is eligible to donate do so.
School blood drives help to get a young generation involved.
“Both high school and college campuses count for a large portion of our blood donation,” Kuhlmann said. “The students are compassionate and dedicated to giving blood.”
If compassion is not incentive enough to give, the American Red Cross’s Young Minds Change Lives scholarship program may persuade those hesitant to give.
EPCHS National Honor Society Secretary Nicki Alwan said Friday’s drive served a double purpose.
“It’s saving lives and helping people, while we earn scholarship money for our students,” she said.