FA Students and Faculty Combat the New York Blood Shortage


In the FA classrooms on December 18th, students sat on the edge of their seats as they waited for their last class to be over- a release into winter break. However, some students and faculty sat comfortably in a chair at the blood drive, ready to donate blood. After the success of the first blood drive in October (where 44 donations were received and 132 people were given blood across Long Island), the Friends blood drive committee decided to host another blood drive. Olivia S., a first-time blood donor, and FA student walked me through her experience.

 “They were great ladies. All very nice to me- comforting,” Olivia said when talking about the workers at the blood drive. After her vitals were checked, Olivia was led to a station where she would donate. There, she had a great conversation with one of the nurses, who shared the same “dry humor” she has. Olivia claimed her experience was “fabulous”, with “no complications” when she was in the chair. After she finished donating, she was given multiple snack options and was prompted to rest where FA’s blood drive student ambassadors comforted her. “They gave me so much cranberry juice. I was so happy,” she exclaimed.

Although the snacks were definitely a plus, Olivia claimed she had a singular thought when justifying her first donation: “My thought process was I am going to save a life….” She also credited her decision to a FA student ambassador, Alex P. Alex walked Olivia through the donation process before the drive and encouraged her to donate. She greeted Oliva at the gym doors alongside Erica S, another student ambassador. Although she was light-headed afterward in Mr. Burt’s bio class, Olivia exclaimed, “Of course I would donate again”, and she plans to do so in eight weeks when she is eligible. 

Despite the large turnout at FA over the past semester, there continues to be a statewide blood shortage. Due to a reduced number of people leaving their houses, there has been a sharp decrease in people willing to donate blood. This blood shortage has impacted blood centers across the nation, including The New York Blood Center. Andrea Cefarelli, the senior Executive director for the New York Blood Center, urged the New York community to come out and donate blood in an interview with Spectrum News. To compensate, the NYBC now aims to acquire double the amount of blood donations at drives still taking place. 

New York City Mayor, Bill Deblasio also recently launched the GiveBloodNYC campaign in partnership with the New York Blood Center. In hopes to encourage donations and collect 25,000 blood, plasma, and platelet donations through January 4th, each New York who enters and donates could win one of fifty prizes. Although there were no sweepstakes or prizes for donating at the Friends Academy blood drive, the persuasive FA student ambassadors rallied up many students and faculty in our community. And, besides the snacks, “knowing you are saving a life” might just be the best reward out there, Olivia concluded.