Got Blood?

Mrs.+Melissa+Fernandez+promoting+the+first+blood+drive+of+year+on+September+22nd%2C+2016.

Desiree Pico

Mrs. Melissa Fernandez promoting the first blood drive of year on September 22nd, 2016.

Desiree Pico, Section Editor

For the last five years at TERRA, students aged seventeen or older are given the opportunity to donate blood to help the community. This year, TERRA is off to a good start, with over fifty pints of blood collected during the first drive on September 22, 2016, leaving many excited to see how much will be collected on the next drive on November 30, 2016.

The blood drive is hosted by OneBlood, a non-profit organization founded in 2012 that serves the community. When the blood collection bus comes to TERRA, roughly one hundred students sign up to donate blood. This blood is then distributed to hospitals across Monroe, Miami Dade, and Broward County and given to patients in need of  blood transfusions. Although this large number signed up to donate, only a total of fifty-seven students actually showed up to donate. Mrs. Melissa Fernandez, TERRA’s Biomedical Academy lead teacher and coordinator of this event, believes that this number will increase in the future.

While the idea of having blood drawn terrifies some, many are able to get past this fear and find no problem with donating their blood at these drives. “My experience at the drive was good. I mean, I was getting blood out, but it was relaxed, and they gave out a lot of food, too,” says junior Maddie Dawson. There are many motivations for donating blood, but Dawson decided to do so because “[she] figured, ‘why not?’ I’m seventeen, and people need blood, so I donated.”  

This year, there were eighteen student volunteers whose role in the success of the drive is to recruit others to donate. One of these volunteers, sophomore Lauren Villa, had “a great experience at the drive this year” and would like to do it again. “I feel that I helped because I was able to recruit students to donate blood for a good cause.”  

Junior Benjamin Pepin, another student blood drive recruiter, is also firm believer in the positive impact the drive has on the community. “The blood drives are a great cause because it gives us high school students a chance to participate in saving a bunch of other people’s lives,” he says.  

Fernandez has a very optimistic view of the future blood drives. “As the years have gone by, more students are excited to be able to donate, and the number increases every year. I also believe that student involvement will increase as this year there will be direct scholarship dollars links to the amount of pints collected, and students who donate will be eligible to apply.” Whether TERRA students choose to donate their blood in hopes of getting a scholarship, or simply to help others in the community, they continue to demonstrate support and come out for for these drives.

With the next one around the corner on November 30, 2016, Fernandez is confident in the student turnout. She says, “I believe it has become part of our school’s culture to help others at this point.”