Spring blood drive changes


Blake Loria

Squeezing a stress ball, senior Kat Clark ensures blood flow through her arm while donating at the fall blood drive. For the last 10 years, Coffee Memorial Blood Center and Canyon High’s Key Club have partnered to host and provide a place for students and staff to donate.

Students and staff registered to donate blood will participate in the spring blood drive throughout Friday, Feb. 26.

The Coffee Memorial Blood Center and Key Club work together to host the event. The blood center is associated with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and they have been dedicated to providing life-saving blood products and transfusion services to the area. Key Club sponsor Lance Culbert said blood availability in the area is low because of the recent weather conditions and COVID-19, so it is important to donate if capable.

“Generally speaking, high school students are much healthier,” Culbert said. “They have fewer conditions that would cause people to be deferred, so you have a healthier, bigger pool of donors. The other thing is we don’t have synthetic blood. If it doesn’t come from people who can donate it, we don’t have it. We have to do our part.”

With COVID-19 limitations disrupting people’s lives, blood donations have been low, according to the blood center. Culbert said the amount of blood Canyon High students have donated in the past year is about 150 units. One unit of blood is enough to help three people.

“Anytime there’s a major disruption in people’s lives, the blood supply always goes down,” Culbert said. “For a long time, blood donations were down, especially at the start of the pandemic. There’s a big dip because of all the weather last week. Right now, we have like a really low supply, so high school drives are a part of getting that up.”

Junior Jess Hilleary is scheduled to donate at the Friday blood drive and Hilleary has donated for the past two years at the school and other locations.

“I love donating blood as much as possible,” Hilleary said. “It’s essential for me because I have a higher white blood cell count than a normal person does. It’s nice to know I’m helping out my community. Donating blood has impacted me in such a great way.”

Hilleary said he intends to continue donating after he graduates.  Hilleary receives emails about the people he has helped through the blood drive and said he is grateful to have the opportunity to help other people.

“The emails I have received from them–they’re just thankful,” Hilleary said. “Like ‘you’ve saved this person,’ and ‘thank you so much for doing this.’ I’ve done it so many times, I’ve lost count of how many emails I’ve gotten back–who I’ve helped.”