January marks National Blood Donor month for the American Red Cross. To help out, the Emery High School Sterling Scholars organized a blood drive Wednesday conducted by the Red Cross.
According to Red Cross team supervisor Jilayne Allen, going in to the winter months there is a greater need for donated blood due to an increase in accidents and other illnesses.
“There are lots of people sick during this time of the year,” Allen said. “So many people are unable to come in and donate, which means the donations are down, but the need is great.”
Emily Olsen, Emery High’s Business Sterling Scholar, said she likes helping out by participating in community service such as the blood drive.
“If we didn’t help organize events like this, it would be harder for people to get blood when they need it,” Olsen said. “And you never know if one day you’ll need it too. So, I just like to help out whenever I can.”
As an incentive to get students to donate, many teachers at Emery High offered an opportunity for extra credit to those students who were brave enough to roll up their sleeves.
First-time donor Jessica Olsen said although she was nervous, she thought it would be a good experience to have under her belt.
“They talked me through the whole process and even asked me if I wanted to see the needle, but I definitely said no to that,” she said. “It really wasn’t that bad.”
Healthy and eligible donors can typically donate every 56 days, and the Red Cross encourages those who qualify to donate as often as they can.
According to Allen, there are many reasons donating blood is beneficial to donors as well as recipients.
“Donating keeps you healthy, it kind of gives your body an oil change, so your red blood cells can redevelop,” Allen said. “One donation can help save up to three lives and blood is needed somewhere almost every six minutes. So, the more donations we get, the better chance we have to help someone out.”
Sterling Scholar advisor Shanae Butler said she loves watching kids get involved in the community.
“I just love working with kids who are super motivated, which you have to be to be a Sterling Scholar,” she said. ”These students work so hard and give so much back to the community through their service and leadership roles and I just love seeing the progress they make.”