The Heartland Blood Center is an independent organization with the mission of collecting blood donations from willing patients. Heartland specializes in serving local hospitals throughout Illinois counties, among them McHenry. As well, Heartland visits all high schools that are a 75 mile radius from their nearest center located in Crystal Lake, ill.
Their visit to Huntley High School gave students a chance to donate if willing. While certain students feel uncomfortable with the donation process others, such as senior Leticia Russell, view it as a great opportunity.
“It feels good to donate blood because you are helping out those who need it,” said Russell. “If I ever needed a transfusion I would hope there would be somebody there to help me.”
Heartland’s visit to the high school resulted in a range of 120 students donating blood. Each donated one pint or three ounces of blood. Each donation has the potential of saving 3 people’s lives.
Tom Kempf, student council advisor, has been in charge of organizing the donation for six years and has seen a steady rise of various donors since then.
“A lot of kids that are not expected to come end up donating,” said Kempf. “You see a different side of students in this building when they participate in the blood drive.”
With the increasing number of student donors, Kempf expects the number to rise up to 250 in the next five years.
There is another oppurtinity for students who did not participate in the fall donation. A second spring blood drive is being held at the high school on March 21, 2012, the date is subject to change.
“It helps out a lot when students donate blood,” said Sonja King, a nurse working at the donation. “It is really appreciated by all.”