Sea Kings Saving Lives at the Blood Drive

Isabella Ruiz, News Editor

For the first time in 16 years, PV High hosted a blood drive in partnership with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, as students rolled up their sleeves to partake in donating a pint of blood.  On March 5th, students, teachers, and even parents flooded the MPR as the day-long event engaged much of campus to donate blood and earn a t-shirt or a pint of Baskin-Robbins ice cream.

The event was months in the making as the newly founded Health Professionals of the Future [HPOF] club began organizing the drive in early October.

“After the club was initiated by my english teacher, Ms. Damon, the board members got together and started creating goals for the year… a couple ideas included providing CPR training, gathering some guest speakers, and my favorite idea- the blood drive,” junior and president of HPOF Renee Moore said.  

“In October, I donated blood for the first time at a blood drive hosted at SCROC [SoCal Recreational Occupation Center] when I was getting certified as a first-responder. Cedars-Sinai worked the blood drive and it was overall a really amazing and fascinating experience so I reached out through their website not knowing if this could actually happen.”

Once the event was scheduled, HPOF board members such as junior Mari Shigekawa, began the recruitment process of donors.

“Our goal was for each board member to recruit ten people to donate, so I asked anyone I could but a lot of people are afraid of needles so I had to convince people with facts like ‘one pint of blood saves three people’ and statistics like that,” Shigekawa said.

Fellow board member junior Robert Tsai also found the process to be challenging.

“Recruiting people was the hardest part because I’m not a persuasive person, so I needed to learn how to get in touch with my inner salesperson, just put on a smile and be charismatic.”

Two weeks before the big day, few complications arose as HPOF put preparations in place.

“There were some teachers who found out they were not available to come and chaperone for the event which complicated the schedule times,” Shigekawa said.  

“We also had to hassle everyone involved to get the forms signed because at first it was one form, then two, now three forms which may have made people less inclined to do it.”

As all plans settled into place, the club members had to then settle all the equipment into the MPR.

“The day of, we all got to school at six in the morning to set up for when Cedars-Sinai arrived with the truck… we moved all the tables inside, coordinated the parking with Ms. Hafer for all the Cedars-Sinai people that came, determined breaks for each of them, and gave over the signs up and donor information to look through,” Moore said.  

“They made sure to check on each donor before and after donating to make them eat food, drink water, and wait out the first fifteen minutes after donating in the MPR.”

Despite the waiting period, students were pleasantly surprised as the donation process itself was not as frightening or painful as initially assumed.

“As far as blood drives go, I think we had a small amount of students that were uncomfortable, but no one wants to freak out in front of their peers so the majority of people donating were calm,” Tsai said.

Out of the 130 people who came to donate, only three students reported that they felt dizzy or lightheaded, all thanks to Cedars Sinai’s dedication to patient care.

“They understood that this was the first blood drive on campus in a very long time, so they wanted to prevent any possible mess-ups…. This was definitely the major factor in why the drive took such a long time because they took extra cautionary steps,” Moore said.  

The drive was not simply a great experience for the school and students, but also impacted those who worked the blood drive as they were welcomed to campus for the first time.

“This was my first time working at PV High and it was great, we had a nice flow of students come in to donate… I got to meet a lot of students, they’re all very happy and friendly,” phlebotomist Eirieaa Gutierrez said.  

“When doing blood drives for students instead of adults, the environment is different and everyone is so involved or active, and you can feel it.”

Biology teacher Julie Maemoto donates blood regularly, as a sentiment of gratitude for blood drives having benefited her family personally.

“I usually donate blood at least once every year. My dad had collapsed because he had lost so much blood from a stomach ulcer, so he needed a blood transfusion right away,” Maemoto said.  

“I appreciate that it was readily available for him and it’s just a reminder that people really need this and it’s truly a lifesaver.”