Stu­dents good at giv­ing

Cres­cent Col­le­giate hosts blood donor clinic, One­Match swab­bing event

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

As Young Blood for life awards win­ners, it has been the goal of Cres­cent Col­le­giate stu­dents to con­tinue to host blood donor clin­ics. Last week they hosted a clinic and swab­bing event for the One­Match stem cell and bone mar­row registry. For some, it was their first time tak­ing part in a donor clinic.

Whether some­one is in the hospi­tal for can­cer treat­ment or an ac­ci­dent, there is al­ways a de­mand for blood.

And be­cause of Cres­cent Col­le­giate, dozens of stu­dents have rolled up their sleeves over the past few years to be­gin do­nat­ing.

The Grade 7-12 school in Blake­town, Trin­ity Bay has hosted blood donor clin­ics for years, even be­ing named the Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices (CBS) Young Blood for Life re­cip­i­ents for three con­sec­u­tive years.

Across Canada, 18,500 teenagers do­nated blood last year. To be el­i­gi­ble to do­nate, you must be a min­i­mum age of 17 years.

With 178 do­na­tions, Cres­cent re­ceived the na­tional award again last year. It was the most do­na­tions for any school clinic in the prov­ince. The pre­vi­ous year, they had 194 do­na­tions.

The school also has the help of long time donor Morley Reid, who has given blood and blood prod­ucts over 500 times and do­nated over 5,000 hours to vol­un­teer­ing.

At this clinic, held last Thurs­day, stu­dent vol­un­teers joined a registry op­er­ated by CBS called One­Match. One­Match is the Cana­dian stem cell and bone mar­row pro­gram. You must be 17 to join the registry as well.

When you join, you swab your cheeks with sam­ple col­lec­tors and the DNA col­lected is sent off to de­ter­mine if that per­son is el­i­gi­ble for the registry.

There were 16 stu­dents signed up to get swabbed at the clinic.

For some,

do­nat­ing

blood and join­ing the registry was their way of of­fer­ing up their as­sis­tance to those who need it. Some had a more per­sonal ap­proach to mak­ing the de­ci­sion.

Dakota Clarke is the pres­i­dent of Al­lied Youth at the school and an or­ga­nizer for the event. He proudly swabbed his cheeks for the op­por­tu­nity to do­nate stem cells or mar­row if a match pre­sented it­self.

Com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment co­or­di­na­tor Gor­don Sk­iff­in­g­ton told The Com­pass there are 400,000 peo­ple signed up for the One­Match pro­gram in Canada.

There are mil­lions of oth­ers world­wide in over 100 coun­tries on a cen­tral registry. Canada can match with any­one on any registry.

Blood do­na­tion is dif­fer­ent. Canada can share blood and blood prod­ucts, like plasma and platelets. Some­times blood prod­ucts can be sold to com­pa­nies to make med­i­ca­tions as well. But over­all, whole blood has a shelf life of a few weeks.

When there is a se­ri­ous car ac­ci­dent, it could take up­wards of 50 units of blood to save some­one. A per­son fight­ing leukemia could need up to eight units a week.

The CBS web­site re­ports 100,000 new donors are needed each year to keep up with the de­mand. Which is one rea­son the stu­dent clin­ics are help­ful.

Last week, 19 stu­dents and two teach­ers went through the screen­ing process at Cres­cent dur­ing school hours.

There were 79 ap­point­ments booked for the evening clinic, but walk-ins were wel­come. Most of those ap­point­ments were for other mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

One of the stu­dents that do- nated blood for the first time was Lu­cas Hig­don. The 17year-old de­cided to give blood af­ter his mom had a med­i­cal emer­gency in the past, and thought about giv­ing back.

The process to do­nate takes about an hour, and donors get cook­ies and juice af­ter they fin­ish their do­na­tion. Some first time donors have gone on to be­come reg­u­lar donors.

For Cres­cent Col­le­giate stu­dents, they hope to keep the do­na­tions com­ing, and be in the run­ning for their fourth Young Blood for Life award.

And there is a strong be­lief they can do it, noted Dakota as he went in to be­gin screen­ing to do­nate blood.

Cres­cent Col­le­giate Al­lied Youth pres­i­dent Dakota Clarke swabs one of his cheeks to get a sam­ple for the One­Match stem cell and bone mar­row net­work so he can join the registry.

Lu­cas Hig­don do­nates blood for the first time at Cres­cent Col­le­giate in Blake­town Thurs­day, Oct. 22.

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