Blood Drive at NDA Gives Students a Chance to Save Lives

Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

It’s not many days when a high school student can actively save three lives, but that’s what the Notre Dame Academy blood drive is all about.

Twice a year, NDA students get the opportunity to go to the Alumni Gym and give blood that will be used in hospitals in the area. This year, 117 pints of blood were donated by the student body, which translates to 351 lives saved.

The Blood Drive is now a tradition at Notre Dame Academy and existed even before Campus Minister Daniel Kriegl arrived.

Claire Sievert, one of the key planners for the event, explains what it takes to make it happen.

“You need to get people interested. That way, when the sign up sheets arrive, you already have people who are interested in donating,” Sievert explains.

The American Red Cross ships in posters, consent forms, and sign up sheets to help prepare the school. Student volunteers tape passes to donators’ lockers that allow them to leave class to give blood.

“Aside from the preparation, there are student volunteers who work at the refreshment table or comfort students getting their blood drawn,” Sievert said. “It’s my opinion that these jobs are the most important because having somebody talk to you while you’re giving blood helps to keep your mind off a pretty scary process.”

The blood given is immediately transported to the Red Cross center where it undergoes tests to ensure it is healthy. It is then shipped to a local hospital to be used in blood transfusions and other medical procedures.

Because the blood must meet specific criteria, many students find themselves being turned away. A student can be deferred for being too small, having low blood pressure or iron, or even traveling out of the country on a recent trip.

However, as students get older, these limitations decrease. At age 19, it’s believed the body is at a stable place and height and weight no longer matters.

“The blood drive is an amazing thing, and any help means something important, even if it’s not giving blood.” If a student gets deferred, Sievert urges them to not be discouraged. “I hope that after high school people will continue to make an effort to give their blood.”

Debbie Mylener, an account manager at the American Red Cross, urges people to give blood outside of the NDA blood drive.

“A person is eligible every 56 days, and your blood drives are not open to the community,” she explained. “The summer drive is open to anybody and last year 26 units were collected.”