Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Every Drop Counts

Posted 02/26/2016 by Michael Katsman

graphic by Andrew Villescas

Students prepare for the upcoming blood drive, being held at TJ on March 1st.

Thomas Jefferson’s annual blood drive, hosted by the Bonfils Foundation, will be held March 1st. This is a beneficial opportunity for both students and staff to help individuals in need of blood. School nurse Deborah Samuels and seniors Sasha Mesropov and Erika Racine will be working together to create another successful blood drive for the Spartan community. Blood donation is a simple process that can potentially save three lives per donation. It can be used for people who have suffered from accidents, medical conditions, cancer or blood disorders, emergencies such as surgeries, and many more life-saving uses.

Certified nurses will first take the donors’ blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and test their hemoglobin levels to see if they qualify for donations. Next, donors must answer a few confidential questions to ensure a safe and qualifying donation. Finally, the donors will feel a minor pinch from a needle, whereupon a qualified nurse will draw a pint of their blood. Participants will then take a five to ten minute break.

Last year’s blood drive was a huge success, with many Spartans donating blood to the Bonfils Foundation, which finished with a collection of 25 units of blood. Spanish teacher Nina Barber especially enjoyed the drive, explaining, “It was really easy. I just went in and filled out a form, and then they tested my blood with a little finger stick.” Although she is unable to donate this year due to a recent trip to Costa Rica, Barber is excited to give blood next year, as long as she doesn’t leave the country again.

Although donating blood is perfectly safe, there are some myths that may draw people away from donating. A major misconception that scares people away from donation is the pain of the needle. “It’s a brief second of pain when the needle punctures your skin,” Samuels explained. The small amount of pain shouldn’t take anyone out of the blood drive; a tiny poke is worth enduring because the blood will be used to help people in need. Another misconception is that the donor might obtain a virus from the procedure. Every blood donation is guaranteed safe; Samuels reinforced, “No needle will be used more than once and every needle is inspected for sanitation before use at least once before it is used.”

Potential donors can prepare for the event by eating a healthy breakfast with a good amount of protein, along with drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Donors who are under the age of eighteen years old will need a signed parental consent form, preferably turned in before the blood drive. Before the drive, pre-screening questions will show the qualifications for donation. Examples of instances that would reject someone from donation include if the donors have taken antibiotics, recently gotten a tattoo, traveled out of the country in the last 12 months, gotten a piercing on any part of their body within the last 12 months, among others. Additionally, donors must have the last four digits of their social security number in order to be officially identified.

On the day of the drive, donors will be called down to room 111. Once they are checked in, the blood donation process will begin. TJ is proud to hold this event with Bonfils and help the broader community in a unique way. If people want to donate blood after this event, they can call Bonfils’ contact number: 303-739-4000.