DMAE Blood Drive: Push for 100 Units despite Setbacks

Students who travel to parts of Mexico, Colombia or Dominican Republic cannot donate blood due to possible exposure to malaria. At DMAE, this was just one of the spectrum of issues that prevented students from participating in the Fall Blood Drive held Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Parent teacher conferences hindered the success of the first Blood Drive for the 2014-2015 school year because school was only open to students until 12:50 p.m. with no late busses running.

According to Barbara Manche, DMAE school nurse and co-coordinator of the Blood Drive, it is very important for students to get in the habit of donating blood.

“You can see how it really saves lives,” she explained. “There’s a really high demand, but there’s a lot of shortages during the summer because the high schools and the colleges aren’t in session.”

Although Ms. Manche and co-coordinator John Jarsinski organize two Blood Drives every year with good intentions, many students are still unable to donate blood.

“You can donate at age 16 with a parent’s permission. At age 17 you don’t need a parent’s permission. You have to be 120 pounds, and if you’ve been to Dominican Republic or Colombia within the last six months, you can’t donate,” Ms. Manche explained.

Sidney Kurtz, a senior who was unable to donate blood at the Drive, has been wanting to donate blood since freshman year.

“I never donated before and I wanted to help someone in need,” Sidney explained. “I had to wait to be old enough and then I tried to last year but I couldn’t donate because of other complications,” she said. The same thing happened to her this year.

Sidney is just one of many students who felt disappointment at getting turned away. For senior Amanda Latouche, frustration started when her blood tested vitamin D and iron deficient.

“They stuck me with the needle to analyze my blood and they had to do that twice and then after all that I couldn’t donate,” Amanda said. “This was one of my last times to do it in high school, so I was disappointed.”

While Sidney and Amanda were turned away, others were able to donate this year without a problem, including senior Arthi Rameshkumar and junior Anna Puchalski.

“When I was in the American Red Cross Club we had a speaker come in and talk to us about donating blood and how helpful it could be to save someone’s life. So I thought I’d do it too,” Anna explained.

Like Anna, many students had their first experienced donating blood this year and will be back because of how it made them feel.

“Students feel really good about themselves; they’re really proud of themselves,” Ms. Manche said.

The goal each year is to get 100 units. According to Ms. Manche, this amount is a reachable goal and it also helps DMAE through the receipt of a $1,000 scholarship, made possible by the collaborating agency, The Community Blood Council of New Jersey.

Over the years, Ms. Manche and Mr. Jarsinski have used different agencies to collect the blood.

“When we first did it, we didn’t use The Community Blood Council of New Jersey,” said Ms. Manche and explained that the Blood Council is much better due to healthier snacks, T-shirts and the scholarship program.

With the Spring Blood Drive, Ms. Manche hopes to make the goal of the 100 units for the year and is planning to set the Blood Drive on a day when more people can participate to save lives through this selfless act.