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The Ultimate Gift for Valentine’s Day

Bonfils+Blood+Center%2C+the+organization+that+comes+to+orchestrate+CT%27s+annual+blood+drive%2C+aids+in+saving+countless+lives+each+year+through+blood+donation.
Bonfils Blood Center, the organization that comes to orchestrate CT's annual blood drive, aids in saving countless lives each year through blood donation.

Bonfils Blood Center, the organization that comes to orchestrate CT's annual blood drive, aids in saving countless lives each year through blood donation.

Logo provided by Bonfils

Logo provided by Bonfils

Bonfils Blood Center, the organization that comes to orchestrate CT's annual blood drive, aids in saving countless lives each year through blood donation.

Toni Aranguthy, Staffer

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Feb. 14, 2018 was a very significant day at Cherokee Trail. Not only was the Valentine’s Day spirit everywhere, but it was also when the annual blood drive took place. Bonfils Blood Center, a non-profit organization from Denver, Colorado comes to CT every year to collect blood donations from students in order to save a life. Blood transfusions are used to help accident victims, people with chronic diseases, and people with blood related diseases.There are three different types of blood transfusions. One of the transfusions is plasma, the liquid part of blood, used to transfer nutrients, hormones, and proteins throughout the whole body. Another transfusion is Platelets which are used to clot injuries such as cuts and burns. They are used to stop bleeding. Lastly, Hemoglobin (red blood cell) transfusion which is used to send oxygen throughout the whole body as well as move carbon dioxide to the lungs in order to be released. Each part of the blood is used for different injuries and illnesses.

Before starting the donation process, there are certain things that you need to do in order to prepare. Approximately 24-48 hours before you must hydrate, and two hours before you must eat a good, high protein meal. This will help the phlebotomist (a nurse or health worker trained to take out blood) find your veins a little bit easier. The process for participating in the blood drive is simple:

  1. You will be checked in and asked to wait for a few minutes before you’re called.
  2. A phlebotomist will take a health screening to see your pulse, blood pressure, temperature, red cell count, etc.
  3. You will then be asked to take a questionnaire of basic health questions and then wait a couple more minutes.
  4. Your phlebotomist will then prepare their tools and start the donation process. This is when they insert the needle into your arm. Once it’s manually taken a nurse will be there waiting for the blood to be taken out. Automatic donations have a similar process: you are hooked up to the Alyx machine and the blood is automatically separated.
  5. After the donation is over you will then have to wait in the waiting room for about 15 minutes, drinking and eating snacks. Afterwards, you can leave.  

The day of the blood drive, many eager students waited for the blood transfusion to happen. There were many donors, each one of them there to possibly save lives. After the paperwork and protocols were completed, it was time to donate blood. People who had the manual blood transfusion sat in the chair while their blood was being taken. The blood was then sent to the lab to be separated by plasma, hemoglobin, and platelets. The automatic blood donation involved a very neat machine named the Alyx machine. This machine is typically used for “double donations”. A double donation is when they take two times the extra amount of hemoglobin and whatever is left over is later returned to your body. People who have blood type O or B, or high hemoglobin are asked to use the Alyx machine for a double donation because their blood type is universal and the need of hemoglobin is in high demand. The blood that isn’t used or separated in the machine is put back into your body as well as sterile saline in order to make up for the lessened blood volume in your body.

Emily Alvarado (10), was one of the numerous students to come out and donate. “I wanted to donate last year but I was too young to do it, and I think it’s for a good cause,” said Alvarado. Simona Bekker (10), was also one of the students that donated blood, because she, “wanted to find out my blood type.”

Unfortunately, complications can happen during blood transfusions, such as your veins collapsing or being too thin to find. You have to have the right amount of requirements to give blood. “I didn’t end up giving blood because my veins are too small… hopefully my veins will get bigger next year.” Simona said, “I was really upset after the fact I wasn’t able to do it.”

A tradition of Valentine’s Day is to give and by donating blood you are giving the gift of life to three people in need. If you have anymore questions or want to find out anymore about blood donation you can go to Bonfils official website at https://www.bonfils.org.

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