Article by James Hilepo, ’16, Editor-in-Chief of The Phoenix:
On Friday, February 26, Kellenberg Memorial teamed up with the New York Blood Center to host its 2016 Senior Blood Drive. The first of two annual drives that KMHS hosts, the event looked to build on the incredible contributions made by the same class at the Junior Blood Drive last year.
At last year’s drive, the Class of 2016 donated 271 units of blood, the most that Kellenberg students had provided in over ten years. This overwhelming total resulted in Kellenberg Memorial receiving the Heroglobin Award, an honor bestowed upon schools with the highest percentage of donations during the school year.
This year, 250 seniors signed up to donate. After 36 people were unable to give for various reasons, 236 members of the Kellenberg community, students and faculty, gave some of their life-saving blood.
35 seniors were additionally asked to be put on the ALYX machine. This Automated Red Cell Donation takes the red blood cells only, while returning the platelets and plasma back to the donor. This process collects enough red blood cells to be transfused to two recipients, thus doubling the whole blood output of these students to 70, to be combined with the 166 solely whole blood donations.
The blood drive always draws excitement from the Kellenberg community. It seems to resonate with the students that they are giving their blood and time to save a human life. Ryan Wilkens commented, “It’s a great experience. It’s a very powerful thought knowing that you are going to affect someone’s life so strongly.”
Nevertheless, giving blood can be a frightening experience, especially for those who are first time donors. This is why the support and assistance of the New York Blood Center members and volunteers are so crucial to a blood drive’s success. Not only are they there to make sure all of the donors stay healthy and are well-attended to at all times, they also serve to quell any fears the donors might have, making the process as mentally smooth as possible.
Brendan Buckley had nothing but nice things to say about the person who assisted him, saying, “My phlebotomist Chris was extremely helpful and supportive. It reminded me how simple and easy donating blood really is.”
The workers themselves greatly appreciate the contributions that Kellenberg has made and continues to make. Volunteer Emily shared, “It gives me a great feeling to see that high school kids are aware of the importance of donating blood.”
Needless to say the mood in the gym on Friday could only be characterized as joyous. Keri Scorce, while in the recovery and refreshments area, remarked, “I just got off the machine so I don’t feel so well right now but it’s for a good cause so it’s worth it.”
Colleen Farelli summed it all up, declaring, “It’s a beautiful day to save lives.” The Kellenberg community saved over 400 of them on that Friday.