By Ely Schosek
SGI Student Reporter
On Friday, June 1 there will be a blood drive at Springville High School from 7:45 a.m.- 2 p.m. and the general public is welcome. The organization that will be collecting donations is UNYTS.
UNYTS’ mission statement is “Our commitment is to enhance and save lives through organ, eye, tissue, and blood donation while maintaining respect for those who give the Gift of Life.” It is not only a transplant service, but also a blood donation service. The main reason as to why UNYTS was the chosen organization is that anything UNYTS collects in Western New York is used in Western New York, so in other words, what is collected here, stays here. They are a non-profit organization that serves the eight counties of Western New York, and since June 2007, has been the primary supplier of blood products to ECMC, Kaleida Health, and all the hospitals in Niagara and Wyoming counties.
This organization accepts many different kinds of donations. Among these are whole blood donations and double red cell donations, which are the two types that will be collected at this specific drive. Whole blood is a mixture of several components and it is beneficial to all ages. Each donation has the potential to save the lives of up to three patients. Each donor typically donates a pint of the mixture. Whole blood is beneficial to all ages from a preemie in a neonatal unit to an elderly patient with a blood disorder. Red cells are the most needed blood component. Double Red Cell donations are often the difference between life and death for trauma victims and those undergoing surgery. Others that may need red blood cells are people with anemia, low hematocrit levels due to kidney disease or cancer, and sickle cell disease. This specific type of donation takes about 60 minutes.
In the years since the invention of blood transfusions there have been many improvements in techniques and safety. As a result of advancing technology we have seen an increased knowledge of diseases and their causes. Due to this we now have some basic disease screening for those looking to donate blood. These tests are meant to ensure the safety of the individuals receiving the transfusions. We now have much better techniques and technology that increases the safety of those donating. There has been a large number of individuals that have contributed to these improvements. Charles Richard Drew was an American physician, surgeon, and medical researcher. Drew researched blood transfusions and similar topics, and developed improved techniques for transfusions. He used his extensive knowledge to create large-scale blood banks early in World War II. Some even say that Drew was a pioneer in blood plasma preservation. Another key figure is Bernard Fantus, who was the director of therapeutics at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. Fantus established the first U.S. blood bank. He created a hospital laboratory that preserved, refrigerated, and stored donated blood.
It is proven that one in seven people entering a hospital needs blood and that every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. There are thousands of stories all over the world about the life-saving qualities of blood transfusions. A few of these are found on UNYTS’ webpage (www.unyts.org). If you would like to be a part of this great cause, this is one of the easiest ways to do so. The Springville High School is a convenient location for those who live in this area but do not have time to drive somewhere else to donate.
It is almost impossible to express in words how important blood donations are. Unfortunate events can occur in everyday life and you never know who will be affected by your donation no matter its size. So please come to Springville High School at 290 North Buffalo Street on Friday, June 1 between 7:45 a.m. and 2 p.m. to do your part!