Blood for the Better Encourages Students to Donate


Photo courtesy of Maya Caplan

Silver Creek High School students pose for a quick picture showing off their bandages after donating blood. On October 19, Kaitlyn O’Connor’s capstone project Blood for the Better partnered with Vitalant to host a blood drive at Silver Creek. From left to right: Anaika Shaeffer and Kaitlyn O’Connor.

Stress balls, comfortable chairs, and saving lives. These are all reasons students have listed for why their peers should participate in Silver Creek High School’s upcoming blood drive on April 21, 2023.

The blood drive this year is different from past drives at the school due to the fact that it’s being run by Silver Creek Leadership Academy (SCLA) senior, Kaitlyn O’Connor, instead of school faculty.

Here at Silver Creek, every SCLA student eventually has to design and run their own capstone project in their senior year. For O’Connor, this presented the perfect opportunity to make a difference in a matter that she’s very passionate about: the lack of blood donors, which creates a shortage of available blood for transfusions.

In the past, O’Connor was unable to receive a blood transfusion due to the limited amount of available blood that matched her rare blood type. She hopes that by educating her peers on the importance of their blood donations, her capstone will make a dent in the blood deficit in the future.

“Due to the nationwide blood shortage, it is extremely important to donate,” O’Connor says, “because one in seven people who enter a hospital will require a blood transfusion, and one donation can save up to three lives.”

By getting together with friends and donating only about 16 ounces of blood, one can contribute to saving the lives of dozens of people in need.

Getting your blood drawn—even by medical professionals—can be understandably quite daunting. While many people know the technique of exhaling as the needle enters your arm, there are also things you can do before donating blood to make it a smoother process.

When asked how people can prepare to donate blood, senior Emma Massey said that her advice is to “drink lots of water and electrolytes” prior to the appointment.

Not only does this practice help expand your veins—making them easier for the nurses to find—it also prevents the feeling of dizziness and the possibility of fainting after the loss of blood causes your blood pressure to fall dramatically.

Blood drives here at Silver Creek have been happening since 2007. According to counselor and National Honor Society (NHS) faculty advisor Michael Sardinia, the school began holding blood drives that year under his supervision; however, due to COVID restrictions, they weren’t able to be held again until last fall in 2022 with O’Connor taking the lead.

According to Sardinia, Vitalant (formerly Bonfils) worked with Silver Creek to operate 20 of the past blood drives to the high school. It is a nonprofit organization based in Scottsdale, Arizona that helps distribute the blood given by donors to roughly 900 hospitals across the United States.

“Having Kaitlyn be in charge has been awesome because she has taken care of everything: the communication with Vitalant and the potential donors, getting volunteers for the day of the drive, etc,” Sardinia says. “Not only was Kaitlyn’s fall blood drive the best drive at Silver Creek, but the supervisor at Vitalant stated that, due to Kaitlyn’s leadership, it was one of the best high school blood drives she’s ever seen!”

If you weren’t old enough to donate blood in October or didn’t know about the blood drive, you still have a chance to contribute before you graduate. O’Connor says there will be a second drive held at the end of this month, and encourages students to participate. Donors will receive $10 gift cards to the online outlet Amazon, as well as valuable experience in donating blood.