NHS Holds Spring Blood Drive


Junior Sierra Dickerson comforts sophomore Alex Smothers while they donate blood. Sophomores must get parental permission to be able donate

Brandon Lightfoot, Photo Expert

On Feb. 27, Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center came to Parkway North to hold the semi-annual blood drive in the upper gym.  Faculty and students 16 and older had the option to participate in the blood drive by donating blood. Parkway North registered 77 donors, had 19 deferrals, resulting in 62 units on a goal of 75.

Parkway North’s National Honor Society teamed up with the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, which is the exclusive provider of blood products and services to more than 110 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. MVRBC collects blood at 19 fixed site donor centers and at more than 5,000 mobile blood drives held each year.

The blood drive is an easy way for hospitals to receive the necessary amounts of blood for hospitals. In addition to collecting blood for patients in need, the blood drive allows students to get involved and give back to their community. Since each whole blood donation can be broken into multiple components, as many as 166 lives can be impacted based on this blood drive alone.

 “People should donate because blood is medicine.  We can’t manufacture it — it has to be donated. It also expires, so there’s a constant need for more.  Donating blood directly saves people’s lives,” said NHS sponsor Scott Nilsen

During the drive, they also used The ALYX machine, which is an apheresis machine that separates and collects various blood components and returns what is not used to the donor.

“We did 4 procedures on our ALYX machine which provides a very helpful double red cell product to the hospitals,” said Nilsen

In order to donate at the blood drive at school a donor has to be at least 17; however, 16-year-olds could donate if they got parent permission. Donors also have to weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. 

“It was my first time donating, so I didn’t really know what to expect. It wasn’t bad at all, and it made me feel really warm inside because I did something positive in the community to make a change,” said junior Matthew Hayes.

Donors should prepare to give blood by making sure they have enough to eat and drink and plenty of sleep  beforehand. If not, they run the risk of passing out or becoming very weak after the donation is complete.

“I wanted to participate in the blood drive this year. I just have a very strong fear of needles, maybe I might go to the Red Cross or something to donate,” said senior Donyae Suddith.

If you are interested in donating blood you can go to the American Red Cross or the Mississippi Valley blood center. You can also wait until next school year until they come back to put on the blood drive.