Saving Lives One Pint at a Time!

Julia Kennedy, Journalist

What is the American Red Cross? The American Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide care for those in need. The mission of the American Red Cross is to prevent and relieve suffering through five key service areas. These areas are disaster relief, supporting military families, lifesaving blood donations, health and safety services, and international services. So why is this important to the students of Ipswich High School? The Interact Club organized a blood drive at Ipswich High School to save lives!  

Blood drives maintain a general supply of blood that meet the needs of many specific shortages or emergencies. Jaymie Shea, the organizer of the blood drive in Ipswich, said, “The blood drive is a great event to help people and get everyone involved.” The American Red Cross had a goal of 40 people in Ipswich to donate blood. Ipswich High School was able to exceed that goal and get 45 students and faculty to donate! This was a major accomplishment for the Interact Club and for the school.

In addition, most people don’t know the benefits of donating. Some health benefits include a free check up, the joy of saving lives, a reduced risk of cancer, and it burns calories! Donating blood can also reduce a person’s risk of contracting heart disease because donating reduces the blood’s viscosity, or thickness. David Wood, a teacher at Ipswich High School, says he was surprised to find out the benefits that donating blood can have.  

In order for everything to go smoothly and safely, there are some requirements when a person wants to donate blood. They must have a healthy height and weight ratio. A person must also be in perfect health in order to donate. The requirements differ from male to female as well. There are also restrictions about where a person has traveled in the past in order to reduce the risk of spreading diseases. Jaymie says that organizing a blood drive is very hard because, “There is a lot of stuff that we cannot control; blood flows differently in every person and that is something we cannot account for.” The Interact Club did a great job of making everything flow and working with the American Red Cross to make sure everyone was feeling good while they were donating.  

There are many interesting facts about donating blood. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. David Wood says it is rewarding to donate blood because it is an easy thing that everyone can do. The most requested blood type is O because it is the universal donor, which means a person can receive type O blood no matter what their blood type is.  A single car accident victim can require as much as 100 pints of blood, which is why it is so crucial that people continue to donate blood. While talking to Jaymie Shea, she says blood drives, “bring people together; it is a simple thing you can do and blood is needed everyday.”  

Hopefully Ipswich High School will be able to continue to partner with the American Red Cross to save lives. There were some new improvements made to the blood drive this year. One added supplement was text updates. Students would text the people donating a half an hour before their donating time. This way, people had enough time to get down to the CAD lab and the gym so nothing got backed up. When asking for future suggestions, David Wood says, “The text updates were great, but I didn’t get it until right before.” For future blood drives, the text updates could be sent out a little earlier. Also, we can make pre-registration more clear. Make sure people know what they have to have with them in order for everything to run smoothly. Overall, everyone seemed to love the idea of the blood drive at the school. A lot of kids said it was great, and they would do it again. The Interact Club should continue to hold a blood drive at the school every year.


High School student Jaymie Shea donating blood.
High School student Jaymie Shea donating blood.