A pos­i­tive award for lo­cal school

Cres­cent Col­le­giate blood donor clin­ics pump out 194 do­na­tions

The Compass - - SPORTS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS SPE­CIAL TO THE COM­PASS

Many teenagers across New­found­land and Labrador vol­un­tar­ily roll up their sleeves to do­nate blood to those in need when their high schools host blood donor clin­ics.

Cres­cent Col­le­giate in Blake­town, Trin­ity Bay is one such school that hosts clin­ics ev­ery year, and this year its com­mit­ment paid off.

The school was named the Young Blood for Life 2013 award re­cip­i­ent for New­found­land and Labrador from Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices, an award given to the school with the high­est num­ber of blood do­na­tions from Sept. 15, 2012 to May 31, 2013.

There were 12 schools that par­tic­i­pated this year.

Of­fi­cials with Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices (CBS) said Cres­cent Col­le­giate was sixth over­all in the en­tire coun­try, and re­ceived a $400 cash prize.

“Ev­ery year we chal­lenge young donors to give blood and to help re­cruit the new blood donors we need to keep pace with the de­mand for blood in Canada,” said Re­nee Hor­ton, a spokesper­son for the Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices in At­lantic Canada. “Young Blood for Life chal­lenges high schools to re­cruit stu­dents, teach­ers, their fam­i­lies and friends to do­nate at Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices clin­ics.”

The Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices web­site says it cre­ated the Young Blood for Life pro­gram to re­cruit younger donors to help “keep pace with the de­mand for blood in Canada.” It is spon­sored by FedEx.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials with CBS, 194 blood do­na­tions were re­ceived dur­ing the re­quired pe­riod at the Grade 7 to 12 school. They beat last year’s win­ning to­tal — 174 — by Queen El­iz­a­beth Re­gional High School in Con­cep­tion Bay South.

“(Pre­vi­ous) win­ners in NL have put their win­nings to­ward their school’s break­fast pro­gram or to pur­chase a school mas­cot,” Karen Power from the CBS St. John’s lo­ca­tion noted.

Cres­cent’s as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal Dar­ryl Ge­orge said the school has not de­cided what they will spend the win­nings on yet.

Face of the cause

Some donors have fam­ily mem­bers or friends who have suf­fered an ill­ness or ac­ci­dent that re­quire them to need blood.

For some Cres­cent Col­le­giate stu­dents and fac­ulty, it’s a stu­dent that can be com­mended for this year’s suc­cess.

“Our most re­cent blood donor clinic was held in hon­our of one of our stu­dents, Tay­lor Jack­son,” Ge­orge wrote in an email to The Com­pass.

Tay­lor, an 18-year-old grad­u­at­ing stu­dent, suf­fered a se­ri­ous skull frac­ture in a bike ac­ci­dent July 2010 and re­ceived five units of blood.

“This year Tay­lor asked stu­dents and the peo­ple of our com­mu­nity to help sup­port our school and him­self by tak­ing part in the clinic,” said fel­low grad­u­ate and six-time blood donor Brooke­lyn Hig­don.

Tay­lor’s sis­ter Kylie is a big sup­porter of blood do­na­tion and, al­though only 15 years old, said she would try and over­come her fear of nee­dles to do­nate when she reaches 17, the al­low­able age for do­nat­ing.

“I think the sup­port was un­be­liev­able. With all the peo­ple that do­nated they are go­ing to save so many lives, just like my brother’s,” she said.

Blake­town res­i­dent Mor­ley Reid, a 400-time blood donor, was a big pro­moter of the event and said it is im­por­tant to get young peo­ple, like Tay­lor, in­volved.

Tay­lor said he is happy to have helped out with such a great cause and con­trib­ute to the clinic’s suc­cess.

He also hopes to give back and be­come a donor as well.

“Dur­ing the five hours of the clinic Tay­lor, along with his par­ents and sis­ters, went around and talked with many of the donors,” Reid ex­plained.

Pilot pro­ject

An­other pro­gram has been rolled out by CBS and Cres­cent has been hon­oured with the op­por­tu­nity to pilot it be­gin­ning this fall.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion has de­cided to ed­u­cate Grade 7 and 8 stu­dents across the coun­try about blood do­na­tion by set­ting up the cur­rently un­named pro­gram in schools.

Some of the top­ics that will be cov­ered in the pro­gram are “the func­tion of blood in the body, the four com­po­nents of blood, blood groups, the need and im­por­tance of blood and mak­ing healthy life­style choices.”

melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

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