Inova hospital hosted a blood drive for students on Dec. 4 during the school day as an opportunity for students to donate whole blood, double red cells, platelets, and plasma. Donation services are available to students who are 16 and older twice a year, once during the fall and once during the spring.
The event began 18 to 19 years ago with a counselor who was determined that donating blood was an extremely important activity for students.
During the first two years of the blood donation event, the school worked along with Red Cross Blood Donor Services, but an accident made it so the school no longer worked along with Red Cross and that is when the transition was made to switch over to Inova. Ever since, Wootton has worked well with Inova, social studies teacher Jeffrey Benya said.
Inova Hospital is a non-profit organization and does not take any money from doing blood donation services. Experienced doctors and nurses volunteer to come to high schools and safely work with students to make a smooth donating process, Benya said.
Inova Blood Donor Services works with other high schools in Montgomery County, including Blair and Pink Branch, Benya said.
Every year, up to 70 students sign up for the blood drive, which is a lower number of students compared to most other high schools that work with Inova Hospital, Benya said.
According to Inova, someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds and donations made by students are able to save up to three lives.
Blood donations are encouraged to everyone, but not recommended to students who have low iron levels, high blood pressure or high heart rates. Teachers are also encouraged to donate blood.
Donating has been a good experience for students, and the school rewards students who donate three times with a red tassel to be worn at graduation. According to English teacher Alton Lightsey, who donates his blood every year, “It teaches them to think of people other than themselves and be thankful to be healthy.”