Opinion: Why give blood?

Eliza Coleman

Last week, students flooded into the large gym for one of Key Club’s annual drives. But they weren’t there to donate shoes, clothes, food, or money: they were in the gym to donate blood.

Students both volunteered for and donated to the drive. Some participants had wanted to give blood previously, but hadn’t been of age. Jamie Doctrow (12) and Mason Gersh (11) both volunteered at the event because, according to Gersh, they “wanted to help out and support a good cause.” 

Many students were frustrated when the drive was canceled suddenly due to gas leak complications. However, the fact that this particular event was compromised does not mean that students should completely give up on giving.

Blood is a commodity that is always in high demand. 85 percent of people will need to have blood infusions at some point in their lifetime. In fact, there is a person who is in need of blood every two seconds. According to Russ Wilson, a Red Cross Nurse, Louisville is not pulling its weight in donating the vital fluid compared to how much blood is used by its citizens each year. “Forty percent of people in Louisville are eligible to give blood, but only six percent actually donate. Most of our blood has to be imported from other areas,” he said. 

Despite this low statistic, the Red Cross continues to pump the city, searching for people who will donate to the cause. “The Red Cross of Louisville hosts at least 15 to 17 blood drives every single day,” David Seymour, Donor Recruitment Representative of the Red Cross, said. “We have them at local schools and businesses all over Louisville. We always try to bring the drives to people, so that they are more convenient.”

As Recruitment Representative, it is Seymour’s job to schedule the blood drives at various locations. He is particularly supportive of blood drives at Manual and other high schools. “High school is the best age to start [donating] because then teenagers can see that they can make a big difference, which not a lot of people can do,” he said.

Though there was a hitch in this recent blood drive, future blood drives will be vital. The need for blood is still very high. Various 24-hour drives and other locations all over Louisville offer plenty of opportunities for those students and faculty still wishing to donate. For more information on the American Red Cross Blood Drive schedule, please visit the Red Cross website.

Eliza Coleman is a 16 year old Junior at duPont Manual High School, studying in the HSU magnet. She is a staff writer for ManualRedeye.com.