Student Council Drives Blood Donations
On his eighteenth birthday, Rich Stein's mother surprised him by taking him to the local hospital for his first blood donation. He credits her dedication to volunteering as an inspiration for his commitment to community service. He estimates that he has donated over 12 gallons of blood in his lifetime.
"She said that if you are healthy, then you owe it to the people that aren't to help them out," said Stein, who drove in from Sandy Hook, CT, to participate in the North Salem High School Student Council's third blood drive of the year.
Student Council members warmly greeted arriving donors and assisted with registration in the school library. While the Red Cross staff worked, students, faculty, alumni, and community members took turns sitting on the black cots and sharing sugary snacks.
"It's a good way to involve the community along with the students so that people can give back in a non-financial way," said Julia, a senior and student council member.
Junior Katerin credits the student council for enabling her to donate for her third time. "I feel like the school introduced me to it. It's easy because it's right here."
Retired teacher Susan Driscoll gave her first Power Red donation, a technique to donate twice as many red blood cells while returning plasma and platelets to the donor.
"I feel really good. I can track where my blood goes on the Red Cross app and it went to Yale New Haven Hospital. You can see that it goes to help people," said Driscoll afterward with a laugh.
"One of my pints of blood went to COVID research," said senior Brett about one of his previous donations. "If you think about what a pint of blood can do for someone else, it makes the slight discomfort worth it."
Jeff Daday, a North Salem alumni ('71), came in with fellow firefighter and North Salem parent Daniel Dreyer.
"I'm healthy, and I'm able to help out," said Dreyer, who was pleased that the student council continues to organize the regular blood drives. "It sets a good example for students to emulate."
According to the New York Blood Center, one in three people will need blood sometime. Blood lasts only 42 days, which is why regular donations are necessary. The Red Cross staff aimed to collect 29 units of blood today and surpassed their goal. Six of today's 30 participants were first-time donors.
"It's important that I give back to the community. Sometimes I feel I take things for granted, and this is a good way to come back to reality. I want to do the best that I can," said senior Matthew. "I'm not able to donate a million dollars to a hospital, but I can donate blood."
Sarah Divi is the Communications Specialist for the North Salem Central School District. This article is part of an ongoing series of stories that showcase student experiences and exemplify the district's mission statement in action.