Blood Drive Draws Record Numbers
• Local students step up for record blood drive.
A single pint of blood donated saves three lives. More than 117 pints of blood were donated by Peninsula High School students on May 24 at the fifth annual blood drive sponsored by Peninsula’s Service Learning Leadership (SLL) and UCLA Health.
While the event was held only one day, there were weeks of planning beforehand by SLL and Noelle Lai, the coordinator and communicator between UCLA Health and SLL.
SLL formed a committee to make sure the Blood Drive ran smoothly. To garner sign-ups, each SLL member, regardless of whether or not they were on the committee, had to get seven sign-ups from students or community members.
For an incentive, students with the most sign-ups received free movie tickets. At the end of the sign-up period, with advertisements on social media, around campus walls and in various email blasts, there were more than 300 names.
The difficult part was collecting the three-page blood drive form. The forms consisted of a sheet that detailed which period the student wanted to donate, and two permission slips for UCLA and the Palos Verdes school district.
Because the collection period coincided with AP and CAASPP testing, the number of returned forms were significantly smaller than in previous years.
However, on the day of the event, students who were 18 years old were able to donate without a parent’s signature, which greatly helped the number of pints of blood donated.
“No other drive compared to this one,” Lai said. “I have to say that it is the smoothest blood drive I have ever seen in the 21 years that I have done this. Just when I thought I have seen everything before, this group still amazes me.”
Lai has been working with UCLA Health for 18 years and has been the main coordinator for the drive since 2015.
“My favorite part of the drive is seeing how everything pulls together due to the work the kids put into it,” Lai said. “If they are unorganized, it will show immediately. The SLL kids are the heroes, perfecting the processes of the day.”
The day before the event, the SLL members signed up for different jobs that they would be in charge of on the day of the drive.
“I was part of the blood drive committee, and I was one of the people to make sure people went to the right place to fill out forms after they checked in,” Kiara Wong said.
“Overall, I was just making sure people were comfortable and had plenty of snacks while they waited. My favorite part of the blood drive was probably donating blood myself, because it was my first time,” she said.
Many stations were manned by students who talked to donors, giving blood, and handed out snacks and water.
“My job during the blood drive was to comfort people during and after their donation,” Juri Maeda said. “My favorite part during this event was seeing many students, teachers and parents donating to save some lives. I was amazed by the number of donors we had this year.”
“Personally, my favorite part was actually donating blood,” Keilani Sumi said. “I always wanted to donate, but I was never allowed to until this year, so I was excited. I love it since I know that I will make a difference in someone’s life, and this experience has made me certain that I will be a regular blood donor.”
For many, this was the first time to give blood, and many were afraid. But, after actually donating, they were glad they did.
“I decided to donate because it seemed like such a small thing with a big impact,” Christina An said. “Hospitals are always lacking blood and the thought that I could donate something to save someone’s life is pretty amazing. My favorite part was how kind the nurses were. It was my first time donating and I was a little scared of the needles. However, there was this one nurse who was such a sweetheart, she wanted to make sure I was taken care of and that I was relaxed. A lot of people tense up and that can cause problems. The vibe in the auditorium was really nice since everyone felt good volunteering together.”