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Warden High to host Vitalant open blood drive April 30

by GABRIEL DAVIS
Staff Writer | April 22, 2024 5:40 PM

WARDEN — Warden High School will be hosting a blood drive April 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., run by nationwide blood center Vitalant. The drive is open to both students and the public. 

Warden School District Nurse Janna Benzel elaborated on the drive. 

“We've done (Vitalant drives) in the past, and we try to host one here twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall,” Benzel said. “They bring a bus and that is where they will draw the blood.”

According to Vitalant’s event flier, 4.5 million Americans need blood transfusions every year and every pint of blood donated can save up to three lives.

“We're just helping preserve our blood banks and make sure they have plenty of blood for any traumatic event,” Benzel said. “And it's nice because sometimes we do have those unique blood types that they're looking for as well.”

Benzel said blood drives are particularly important now, with frequent blood shortages across the nation in recent years.

“We're always in need, especially with everything that's gone on over the last three to four years,” she said.

Students under the age of 16 cannot donate, and students under the age of 18 will require a consent form, Benzel said. The students are able to leave classes to donate. 

“We just have parent consents that they can take home and have their parents fill out and sign, and then they bring that back and give it to the bus and then they are able to donate blood,” she said.

Minors who would like to donate blood can pick up the release form in the district nurse’s office or contact Benzel directly before signing up through Vitalant, she said. Adults who wish to donate blood can sign up for a slot through Vitalant’s website at bit.ly/WHSBloodDrive2024.

According to Vitalant’s website, there are about 12 slots available at the time of this article’s writing, and advance appointments are encouraged. 

“One of the things we need to let people know is that they do have to meet that weight and height requirement on the chart on our flier,” Benzel said, “because if they're too small, just the blood volume, they can't donate. So we just want to make sure people, especially minors, are aware of that height and weight requirement.”

According to Vitalant’s flier for the event, males between the ages of 16 to 22 must be at least five feet tall and 110 pounds. 16 to 22-year-old females who weigh more than 110 pounds but are shorter than five feet and six inches should refer to the provided chart for a minimum weight for their height.

“We'll have another (drive) in December, and then this one in April,” Benzel said. “Between the two drives, our goal is to have 40 or more blood products donated … we're kind of reaching for a little bit more this year.”

Benzel said student participation in the blood drives is usually very good.

“I would say probably over half of the appointments made are students,” she said. “Last time, I want to say we averaged around 16 to 17 (donations), but we wanted to reach a little higher this year, so I think we can do it.”

The school district may even offer incentives for students to donate.

“Last time, our high school principal offered to decrease detention time for any students that would donate blood, and it was a really good turnout from that, so I think we're going to push for that this week again,” Benzel said. “It's definitely effective; that bumped our numbers up quite a bit at our last drive.”

Vitalant will even provide a funding award to the Warden School District if enough blood is donated at the drive, Benzel said.

“We want that goal of 40 blood products donated or more,” she said. “If we can get that then we will get a STEM grant for about $1,200 that'll go to our STEM program for our students.”

The grant could potentially be used to fund Science, Technology, Engineering and Math projects, trips, activities or other STEM program purchases. 

To register for a different blood drive or for more information on donating blood, visit www.redcrossblood.org and www.vitalant.org. Benzel can be reached at 509-349-2366 extension 1102.

Gabriel Davis may be reached at gdavis@columbiabasinherald.com

 

    Exterior of Warden High School, which will be hosting the first of two annual blood drives April 30 in a Vitilant Blood Center bus. The event is open to both students and the public, and advance appointments are encouraged.