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RHS Students Give Back Through Delta Blood Drive
Delta Blood Bank arrived on scene at Riverbank High School this past week for a blood drive that several students participated in, with almost three dozen units of blood collected during the drive. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

Delta Blood Bank rolled into town over the past week, setting up shop at Riverbank High School for a one-day blood drive that started at 8:30 a.m. and lasted until 12:30 p.m. Approximately 15 students from the school’s leadership group assisted the staff from the blood bank with a few tasks like directing the student donors and making sure they had refreshments at the canteen. Nearly three dozen units of blood were collected as well.

“I think the blood drive went very well,” stated RHS Activities Director Gina Tonarelli. “The (leadership) students all handled their positions very professionally and were a big help to the Delta Blood Bank employees.”

There were 33 donors that were able to donate with 21 first time donors that all stepped up for a good cause, to save lives. This is one of two times that Delta Blood Bank visits the school each year. Delta’s Lisbeth Garcia, Blood Drive Coordinator, expressed that it is an important contribution from the students and although the school is small, their contributions are big.

The blood supply in the area has reached a critical low level and they have asked the public for help so that they can keep up with the demand for blood.

Students wishing to donate must be in good health and at least 17 years old with a minimum weight of 110 pounds.

Delta’s website lists a few reasons why people should donate like statistics show that 25 percent or more of us will require blood at least once in our lifetime; only 5 percent of eligible donors across the nation donate blood, but the number of transfusions needed nationwide increases by 9 percent every year; every 2 seconds, someone in the USA needs blood; there is no substitute for human blood; and one out of every seven hospitalized patients needs blood.

The donation beds in the Bruin Gym at RHS on a busy morning this past week started filling up right away. There was a constant flow of traffic throughout the few hours that Delta was there.

There are a few different steps students had to take to participate in the blood drive like providing parent permission slips, registration, medical history, and the donation process itself, which only takes approximately 10 minutes. High school student donors spent at least 20 minutes at the canteen before heading back to class, with the entire donation process taking roughly an hour. At the canteen they had refreshments like orange juice, water, apple juice, cookies, almonds, crackers, raisins and were also given a special T-shirt, provided through Delta Blood Bank.

For most students, whether they were first time donors like William Carson or repeat donors like his sister Meriah, the thought of being able to help people and save lives was the biggest reason to participate in the blood drive.

“We really appreciate the student’s willingness to help save lives,” stated Garcia. “It’s important for them to donate blood and learn it’s something they can do in high school and once they graduate. They are our future community members and we want them to be exposed to the idea of donating blood for hospital patients and a way of giving back to our community.”

The next opportunity to donate blood locally will be on Saturday, Dec. 17 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Oak Valley Medical offices in the Royal and Charter Oak Rooms, 1425 West H St., Oakdale.