Students good at giving
Crescent Collegiate hosts blood donor clinic, OneMatch swabbing event
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.
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.