It was a vampire’s fantasy: a long line of students seated along the PAC walls, anxiously awaiting the stinging pinch of the needle that would draw a pint of their blood. While some were deferred from donating due to health-related issues, the number of donors was at an historical high.
Partnered with LifeSource, Huntley High School hosted its second blood drive of the year on March 22, during all school periods. Because of the addition of the field house, the blood drive had considerably more space to accommodate the staff and donors than they did last year.
With this extra space, the Lifesource workers were able to space out 12 donating beds in the field house lobby and line up the preliminary-checking stations along the PAC hallway. Despite the increased roominess, the area was still overflowing with the biggest group of donors Huntley has ever seen.
According to STUCO adviser Karen Miller, the drive typically expects about 40 percent of the students who signed up to actually show up. Of the 235 students who signed up for this drive, 191 of them came, about 82 percent.
“We have never experienced a turnout like that before,” said Miller. “I’m not joking when I say that we would be lucky to get 15 kids out of 41 that signed up in a given hour.”
Not only did the large turnout benefit the many patients in need of blood, but STUCO members and local organizations were able to gain something as well. Proportional to how many units of blood the drive raises, the school receives money that goes towards funding for STUCO scholarships, school clubs in need of financial assistance, and community food pantries such as PADS.
Yet this positive outcome came with a hectic downside. Because the Lifesource was only expecting 120 students, they were understaffed. According to Principal Scott Rowe, three additional workers had to be called in after 6th hour to help with the large influx of donors.
Due to the delay, many students ended up missing three class periods, although it takes roughly 20 minutes to donate and 15 minutes to to recuperate at the snack table. Those who arrived after 8th hour had to be deferred from donating, for fear that they wouldn’t be done before the other teams arrived for the indoor track meet at 4:30 p.m.
While this great gathering is a trend that Miller hopes to see continue on in the future, she felt as though the stress could’ve been prevented through careful planning and more realistic expectations.
“It worries me that Lifesource would think that only 120 students would come if 235 signed up,” said Miller. “And if this trend keeps going, then hopefully we can work with them to set some reasonable donation times and numbers of workers.”
But looking at the big picture, Miller acknowledges that holding a blood drive that produces large units of blood greatly outweighs the hassle of so many kids with so little time. Through programs such as the Red Cord society, which requires four donations during their high school careers, students are honored for their service to the community.
“It says a lot about the community,” said Miller. “It says that we have students here at Huntley High School who really do care about the community and want to make sure that the people who are in need can get the help they need.”