One Unit at a Time: LHS’s Annual Fall Blood Drive Continues to Save the Lives of Many

On Oct. 11, Liberty’s HOSA Chapter hosted this year’s first blood drive


Loukya Vaka

Jeneen Awadallah (12) gets her blood drawn by ImpactLife phlebotomist, Kristin Stanley, during the fall blood drive that took place on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Loukya Vaka, Reporter

Since January of 2020, it has been reported by the American Red Cross that doctors have been forced to decide which patients get to receive blood transfusions and which ones have to risk waiting longer, due to the ongoing blood shortage in America. 

Carl Tucker, an ImpactLife phlebotomist who was present at Liberty’s fall blood drive on Tuesday, Oct. 11, talked about why it is so important to get blood donations. 

“Blood donations are saving lives, and when someone donates, they save up to three lives,” Mr. Tucker said, “It’s a blessing to be able to get people to donate.”

Lauren Petri, a medical professional from ImpactLife, collects blood from Mrs. Strathman using the ALYX machine during the blood drive on Oct. 11. (Loukya Vaka)

Lauren Petri, an ImpactLife medical worker who ran the ALYX machine (a blood donation process that takes two times more blood from a capable donor, but returns the donor’s platelets and plasma while only taking the needed red blood cells), talks about why it is so crucial to get blood donations.

“It’s very important because without blood, a lot of people would not be alive,” Ms. Petri comments. “It’s really important for cancer patients to be able to get the platelets, the plasma, and everything that they need. If we don’t have it, they won’t get better.” 

The blood drive is an anticipated event at Liberty that is organized by HOSA twice every year, and has been saving many lives in our community since the very beginning of this high school. HOSA works with the ImpactLife blood center, a non-profit organization that works to save lives and change the world, to safely collect units of blood from the participating students and staff. Together, HOSA and ImpactLife work to combat the always-abundant need for blood in our community, state, and entire country. In total from HOSA’s event, 59 units of blood was collected, an amount that could save up to 177 lives. 

Catt Williams, the ImpactLife worker who was in charge on Tuesday, explained what ImpactLife’s goal is.

“The goal is to help our communities, community hospitals, and to ultimately save lives,” Ms. Williams said.

A team of phlebotomists, medical professionals who are trained to draw blood from children and adults,  and workers from ImpactLife, came to the school to make the day’s blood drive a smoothly run, successful affair. 

ImpactLife phlebotomist, Kristin Stanley, explained why she wanted to become a phlebotomist.

“By becoming a phlebotomist, I’m helping people. I’ve always known that I wanted to work in the medical field so I can help someone, so being a phlebotomist is a great way to do that,” Ms. Stanley said.   

After students and staff signed up to donate blood, they came down to the gym on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Lilly Brown (10) answers the questions being asked by ImpactLife worker, Sydney Campbell. (Far right) Orlando Carson, a professional from ImpactLife, works at the fall blood drive event. (Loukya Vaka)

Abby Dickerson, a junior, talked about why she personally decided to donate blood.

“I decided to donate blood because there’s a lot of members of my family that have needed extra blood, and so I’m just helping the cause,” Dickerson said.

At the blood drive, everyone had to sign in, check their vitals, and answer questions that the medical professionals from ImpactLife asked. After a successful check, they were led to a bed where a phlebotomist would treat them with comfort and care.

Rylee Shipes, a junior who was donating blood for the very first time, talked about how the professionals at ImpactLife influenced her experience while donating. 

“They were super nice, the people I talked with were really nice and understanding,” Shipes said. “It’s my first time donating, and I think they made the process super simple and easy while going through.”

Ms. Stanley also described how she calms people down before drawing blood.

ImpactLife medical worker Joan Poynter draws blood from Mr. Sachs at the fall blood drive on Oct. 11. (Loukya Vaka)

“I try to talk to them, try to get to know them. I ask them what their interests are, or just try to distract them,” Ms. Stanley says. “A lot of times, it’s nice to just try to change the subject.” 

While there were feelings of nervousness and uncertainty at the prospect of giving blood, there was a great turnout of students and staff members, people who were ready to give for a greater goal. 

Fiona Do, a senior, mentioned her feelings about donating blood.

“I was really nervous,” Do said. 

Do also mentioned what the donation process was like.

“It’s been really easy, and they try to make it very stress-free. We have snacks and water,” Do explained. “They try to keep you really chill and easy.”

Senior Lillia Clay talked about how she felt before donating blood.

“This is actually my second time donating blood,” Clay explains. “I was a little nervous at first, but I realized that it’s not as bad as everyone had claimed it to be. It’s just a little bit of a nick.” 

Nathan Mauck (12) has his blood drawn by Carl Tucker, a phlebotomist who came with ImpactLife for the Fall Blood Drive on Oct. 11. (Loukya Vaka)

Donating blood is an honorable, life-changing experience because the blood being donated really does change lives, one unit at a time. The need for blood donations is more dire than ever before, and it is important to do everything that we can as a community to help make that national need less intense than it is currently.

Liberty’s next blood drive will be held during the spring, so be sure to keep a look out for future information. Blood donations are so important because, eventually, there should be no need for hard decisions to be made, there should only be the saving of precious lives.

To learn more about being a blood donor, visit ImpactLife’s website here.