UNICEF Hosts Annual Blood Drive

By Shawkin Kabir, Reporter

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  • The We Are Blood bus sits in the Westwood Band practice lot with participants donating blood inside.

  • Rahul Karuturi ‘20 gives a peace-sign while donating blood. This is his second year donating blood. “There are a lot of people who need blood and [donating it] doesn’t take much time or energy," Karuturi said.

  • Heather Lobera '20 patiently waits for a blood drive helper to ask her questions before she can donate blood.

  • Jayden Wiener '20 reads information about blood donation as he prepares for his turn.

  • Students eager to donate blood climb into the crowded bus where they await their turn.

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The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) club organized a blood drive with the We Are Blood organization on Wednesday, Oct. 16 in the Westwood Band practice lot. The goal was to give students the chance to partake in an event where they could help the community.

“Once you turn 17 you’re eligible to donate blood, but a lot of people don’t know that,” UNICEF President Sophia Unite ‘20 said. “Within a day, we had more than enough volunteers. We had people just coming to the bus and knocking and saying ‘Hey, I want to help’ and that was the coolest thing ever because they had just found out about it and it really showed what sense of community we had.”

Some students had never participated in a blood drive before, but the cause motivated them to join. Having the facilities brought to campus made the opportunity to donate more easily accessible to students.

“I’ve never actually given blood before but I just thought it would be a good idea to help out people who need it,” Grace Toupin ‘20 said. “People need blood transfusions a lot if they have medical issues so I think it’s really important to give blood when you’re healthy so you’re able to help other people.” 

We Are Blood has aided over 40 medical facilities in the Central Texas area and has three Austin donor centers where appointments can be made.

“High school drives are actually some of our most successful ones,” We are Blood employee Jackie Trevino said. “We just hope to get enough blood. We are experiencing a shortage in the community. A lot of the time people will hear about it and respond and be willing to donate and that really helps us.”

Students who are at least 17 years old and at least 115 pounds are eligible to donate, and UNICEF will hold another drive in the spring. We Are Blood has its own website where people can register to donate as well. The blood drive gave participants the opportunity to make a difference in the area with their donation, and being able to contribute was a positive experience for many students. 

“Afterwards, I was just happy that I had the opportunity,” Toupin said. “And I was really grateful that I chose to do it.”