“It’s In You To Give”

Saturday, February 10, 2018 - By: Hannah R, Mackenzie ‘18

Canadian Blood Services runs mobile clinics, which travel to different communities to collect donations of blood for hospitals. In order to support their constant need, SPARC recently arranged for eligible Brentwood students and staff to attend a clinic in Mill Bay.

Due to an accidental coincidence of dates, one of last year’s Blood Reps, Clare M, Mackenzie ‘17 even stopped in before her semester of travel to donate. Joking, she said she just “had to come back for the blood clinic”.

One of the eligibility criteria is that a person must be at least seventeen years old, so the majority of our student body is ineligible to give blood. However, those students and staff who could and did each gave a gift that will help save up to three lives.

Upon arrival at the donation clinic, each person who wishes to give must undergo a screening process to ensure that it will be safe for both the donor and the recipient. A series of questions is answered on a tablet, and then a small blood sample is taken to test levels of haemoglobin (a protein that carries oxygen around the body). Reasons one might be refused include recent vaccinations or travel, diseases that can be transmitted by blood, recent piercings or tattoos, low levels of haemoglobin, or small body mass.

Once donors have been cleared, a bag is connected to their bloodstream through a needle, and they relax while waiting for the bag to fill. Regardless of the person’s size, 450mL of blood is taken, which is about 10% of the average person’s supply.

After the bag is filled, blood is tested to verify that it is safe to give a patient, and separated into three components: red blood cells, plasma (which includes white blood cells), and platelets. Each of these components, any two, or all three can be given to a patient, depending what they need.

Within days, donations are used to save the lives of vehicle accident victims, leukemia patients, and heart surgery patients, among others.  

Wholehearted appreciation to Mr Barrett and the SPARC Blood Reps – Antara P, Mackenzie ‘18, Lauren B, Hope ‘18, and Nolan J, Whittall ‘18 – for arranging the clinic! Thank you also to the students who were unable to donate, but volunteered to help make the process run smoothly. And last but not least, thank you to those who gave (or tried to give) a bit of their blood and time so that somebody can have a longer, healthier life.

Hannah R, Mackenzie ‘18

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