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  • Writer's pictureDylan Edwards

Saving Lives Unit by Unit--HOSA Blood Drive Collects to Give Back

From left to right, Junior Josh Carter, Senior Abbi Cooper, Senior Kiana Taylor, Junior Hannah Nunley, Junior Andi Patterson, and Senior Ryleigh Watson represent only a handful of the members in HOSA. (Photo by Dylan Edwards)

By Dylan Edwards--Eagle Staff Writer

Sometimes a little blood can help more people than you’ll ever think.

Recently, on November 5th, HOSA–Future Health Professionals held a blood drive in Central Gym.

“We hold a blood drive for people every fall, and the National Honor Society holds one every spring,” said Virginia Crouch, teacher and HOSA sponsor. "We give our donations to the Red Cross to help with blood shortages.”

HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) club members helping run the blood drive are gaining experience for their prospective careers in the medical field.

“Students going into any health-related field [join HOSA in order to] talk about health, sponsor fundraisers, and participate in competitions,” Crouch explained. “Competitions usually consist of anything in the medical field: practicing CPR, Nursing Assistance, IVs, medical terms, nutrition - all on the state level. We only tend to meet for these competitions when they come up, or when we need extra time for preparations.”

Similar to professional health organizations, HOSA has faced their own trials due to COVID-19.

“Before COVID, we averaged about 130 members each year, but now we’ve only had about 30 on average because of it,” Crouch stated. “Despite that, anyone can join anytime.”

Although their membership is lower than in past years, HOSA is still going strong. “We lead many events in the year,” Crouch mentioned. “We have many awareness events, poster contests, and the blood drive we hold in the fall.” This season's blood drive was reportedly a massive success. “Although we didn’t hit our goal of 55 units, we still got 45,” Crouch explained happily. “A [single] unit helps 3 people, so that's 135 people that will be helped in the future. [The] best part is, everyone that has their blood donated to someone is notified the exact moment their blood is helping someone.” Some of these donors were HOSA members themselves. “We went to Central Gym during our assigned appointment time, checked in, and gave blood,” explained Junior Hannah Nunley. “All that was needed was photo identification, and anyone 16-17 had to have parental consent to donate their blood.” While largely run by HOSA, this blood drive wouldn't have been possible without the Red Cross. “The Red Cross gave us lots of equipment for donating blood,” Crouch explained. “We also had volunteer students helping manage people.”

Volunteer junior Josh Carter went on to explain his job at the drive along with his personal donating experience.

“I gave out snacks and drinks to keep blood levels up,” he commented. “When I was donating prior, they were quick and kind. There were no problems at all.”

It wasn’t smooth for everyone, however.

“Everyone was nice, but I got pretty dizzy,” Senior Abbi Cooper recalled. “Despite that, I kept on because I knew the blood would be helping people.”

Helping others will reap its own benefits for HOSA members when competition time comes.

“Students that participate in competitions require a Taleo account,” explained Crouch. “It keeps track of your school, classes, interested careers, and gives scholarships. The units of blood we’ve collected are compensated with money for scholarships."

HOSA members know: a little blood goes a long way.

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