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Blood Drive

The Vampires Will Be Out…drawing blood for the American Red Cross on October 20th.

Halloween is the perfect time to donate blood. The American Red Cross will be working with West’s National Honor Society seniors in the Van Hise Gym to see if West can go over 100 units during the course of Friday’s blood drive.

Each unit of blood has the potential to aid three people in need. Only 8% of the U.S. population of eligible people actually donate, so the national blood supply has become very dependent on high school and college students. The students, in turn, recognize the value of the simple act, so the positive energy and the self-satisfaction is evident.

Last spring our students and staff provided 102 pints of blood to the Red Cross, potentially impacting on over 300 lives. Also, West drives provide significant units of African American blood which is especially vital for people with sickle cell anemia. We hope to surpass that this year and you can help!


The donation process on blood drive day starts with a check-in, and is followed by each prospective donor reading details about the dangers of tainted blood and the procedures that he or she will be going through. Then there is a confidential interview with a Red Cross representative, which includes a check on iron count, blood pressure, temperature, and blood type. We always lose a few prospective donors due to low iron count. After the interview the students are ready to donate. When they reach a cot they are assigned an NHS "blood buddy," who will attend to them through the procedure and for at least fifteen minutes afterward, staying right by their side in case of light-headedness or nausea. Some donors (with type 0 blood or Rh-negative blood) will opt to do a "double," which entails donating additional blood. Double red cell donation is done with the help of an apheresis machine which collects the red cells but returns most of the plasma and platelets to the donor. 
Several simple but important steps are recommended for donating and preventing complications.
  • Sleep at least 8 hours the night before the donation
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Do not skip breakfast and lunch on the day of the donation
  • Drink a few extra glasses of water or fluids in the days before and on the donation day

Sign-up will be available in the Ash Entrance beginning the week of October 9th before school and at lunch.  NHS students will be on hand to collect consent forms and answer questions.


In Wisconsin, a minor who is at least 16 years old may become a blood donor if the minor's parent or legal guardian gives written consent. Starting at age 17, the consent of the parent or legal guardian is NOT required. Since all other MMSD procedures require students to be at least 18 years old to give consent, we are letting you know that your 17 year old can donate blood without your consent.

Parents and students should be aware that studies have shown that complications in 16 and 17 year-olds are three times more likely compared to blood donors 20 years old and above. First time donors are three times more likely to experience a complication compared to repeat donors, and females are almost twice as likely to experience donation-related complications when compared to males. Mild complications include light-headedness, dizziness, and nausea. More serious complications are related to injuries that occur with fainting (e.g. concussions, cuts requiring stitches and fractures to the jaw or skull).

It is important to talk with your child and make a joint decision about participation in the blood drive. 

Donating blood is an action that displays not only a concern for the wellbeing of others but a desire to make a positive difference in our community. Many young people who initially donate at West become regular long term donors, and each student takes pride in the choice to donate.