Stuyvesant Hosts Annual Blood Drive

Stuyvesant High School partnered with the New York Blood Center to host its second blood drive after the pandemic in the first floor lobby. After the three-year closing of drives, the blood drive was extremely successful, with 67 students donating.

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By Yashna Patel

Stuyvesant held its second blood drive since the pandemic on November 30 in the first floor lobby in partnership with the New York Blood Center. The blood drive was organized by junior Yashna Patel, who also coordinated a blood drive last May. Sixty-seven students donated to the drive, and 10 had double red blood cell donations, which contribute twice the amount of red blood cells as a normal blood donation.

Patel has worked with the blood center since her freshman year and was inspired to host a blood drive at Stuyvesant after hearing about the shortages the center had during the pandemic. “I would constantly get e-mails about how they didn’t have enough blood, or that they had run out of a blood type completely […] since all the high schools were shut down and nobody went outside,” she said.

Patel also wanted to host the blood drive for more personal reasons. “I know how scary [needing blood] is,” she said. “My grandpa had pancreatic cancer during the pandemic, and he had countless blood transfusions that basically saved his life.”

Well-organized collaboration was necessary to set the drive in motion. “There were lots of amazing volunteers and workers who really helped it all go smoothly,” senior and donor Hugo Jenkins said. Donors were surveyed and directed to the machines lining the first floor atrium while volunteers from the Stuyvesant Red Cross aided workers from the New York Blood Center.

This drive was only the second to take place since the beginning of the pandemic, but blood drives are not new school events. “Before the pandemic, it was a tradition at Stuy to have multiple blood drives every year […]. Blood drives weren’t new to Stuy, but the pandemic had put a stop to them. But once we’d had one blood drive in May, [the Stuyvesant administration was] happy to hold one this fall,” Patel said.

Following the renewal of in-person blood drives, donations have only increased. This year’s drive was more successful than the drive from last May, with an increase of 16 donations. Still, numbers are below previous years, and Patel hopes to increase turnout for the next blood drive, which is scheduled to take place in February. “[The donations were] way more than I’d expected,” Patel said. “In past years we’ve gotten like 120 people donating, [and] I think in future years we can keep growing.”

With the benefits that came with the drive, there were also negative side effects for donors. Despite this, many students still chose to go through with their donations. “It is a bit taxing on your body. I was very tired and exhausted for the next three days,” Jenkins said. “But [...] I think it's very important to give back to the people who are in need of it.”

To ensure the donor’s safety, students were also monitored after their donation and given food. “They checked up on me during the whole process, made sure it was going okay. And then after they gave me a lot of food,” Jenkins said.

Many students were also incentivized to participate in the blood drive due to the food offered: All students received free pizza for donating. “I [chose to donate because I] felt like it, and they were giving out free pizza,” senior and donor Katherine Zhao said.

Many donors also chose to participate because they understand the importance of donating blood and the impact their donation could have. “I know that many people need blood,” senior and donor Max Zeng said. “Imagine you got into a car accident and you are losing blood, but there isn’t any blood for you to survive. That’s why I think it’s so important that people are aware of the impacts of their donations. A single donation can save so many lives, and all it takes is 10 minutes.”

Ultimately, students found the drive impactful as it gave them a safe and accessible opportunity to give back to their communities. “I think medical care like that should be available to anyone,” Jenkins said. “I felt like my blood could make a difference to someone.”