Junior helps organize local blood drive


Sofia Ganev and Juli Mejia

The Red Cross is hosting a blood drive on Dec. 10 at 17369 Chesterfield Airport Road in Chesterfield. Anyone interested who meets the donor requirements can donate blood from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Room AB.

 Junior Amal Khan, the blood program student leader, joined the program in order to help others during the difficulties of the pandemic. Khan became part of one of the organization’s programs known as Leaders Save Lives after it was recommended to Khan by the Red Cross Youth Manager. The program helps students learn more about how the blood drives work with the Red Cross and what the organization has to offer for students. 

I am a Blood Donor Ambassador which means I welcome the blood donors to Red Cross facilities or blood drives, sign them in for their appointments and let them know the safety precautions and guidelines before they start the donation process,” Khan said. 

In order to be eligible to donate blood, a person must be at least 16 years old with parental consent, have not donated blood in the last 56 days, and be in good health conditions. People 18 or older are able to donate without parental consent, but still need to adhere to the rest of the requirements. In order to donate blood, the person must also bring a way to identify themselves such as a driver’s license and a face mask, which can be provided if necessary.

The Red Cross is knowledgeable about the risk with COVID-19, but has attempted to protect the donors as much as they can by adding extra precautions. Some of these precautions include checking the temperatures of donors and staff before the donation process, providing hand sanitizer, ensuring social distancing between donors in all areas, routinely disinfecting surfaces or equipment touched, wearing and changing gloves often and using sterile collection sets and aseptic scrub after each donation. 

“If you are well, healthy, have been social distancing and wearing a mask then there is no problem for you to go and donate at a local blood drive. The Red Cross has implemented multiple safety precautions to ensure donor and staff safety,” Khan said. 

A major concern at the Red Cross is a shortage of blood because of coronavirus. According to the Red Cross website, “nearly, 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to concerns about congregating at workplaces, college campuses and schools amidst the coronavirus outbreak. These cancellations have resulted in some 86,000 fewer blood donations. More than 80% of the blood the Red Cross collects comes from drives held at these locations.

The lack of donors because of COVID-19 is not only affecting certain parts of the country but the entire nation. Every day, blood donors help patients who are burn victims, trauma patients, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, as well as those battling cancer.

“I decided I wanted to host a blood drive because although I enjoy being a Blood Donor Ambassador, I wanted to do more to help the community. And with blood shortages due to COVID-19 I knew I needed to do something to help,” Khan said. 

If you interested in signing up and helping at the Blood Drive, Khan can be contacted via her email: [email protected]