The Red Cross Comes to ACA for Our Blood

By Matthias Armstrong

The Charter News – 5/1/19

Saving three lives isn’t what most ACA students consider doing on a typical school day, but May 15 won’t be a typical day.

The reason ACA and many high schools put on these blood drives is quite simple; it saves lives. According to the Community Blood Center and the Red Cross approximately 37 percent of the US population is eligible to donate blood and out of those people fewer than 10 percent of them actually donate annually. Just one donation from a single person has the power to save up to three lives. The absence of blood donations is immense and through drives, like the one coming up at ACA on May 15th, we help alleviate some of that shortage and help people in their most critical moments of need.

Mary Norville, a teacher at ACA, acts as the primary facilitator and liaison between ACA and the Red Cross. Her main job is to help organize and plan the days which the Red Cross will come, set up, and take donations. This will be the fourth year in a row that she has taken on this task, and she helped orchestrate these drives because she herself is unable to give blood.

“I could not give blood, and I’ve got a type of blood that is always in high demand and I felt really terrible, and so I was like if I can’t give blood maybe I coordinate a blood drive.”

She sees the need for blood and is doing her part in trying to help.

Many people see a blood drive as a scary thing. The process of giving blood can seem like a daunting one but many donors, red cross employees, phlebotomists, and organizers alike assure people about donating that the process is harmless and results in effectively no pain to the person when giving blood. Norville and her student assistant are getting the word out that this event means so much more than just ten minutes in a chair with a needle in your arm but it is in fact a way for you to potentially save multiple lives.

“The need for blood is so great,” says Norville about what the big issue.

One interesting point that Norville makes is that she sees the students who get involved in an event such as this, and she can see them grow in maturity, confidence, and self respect by partaking in an event that helps people on an immeasurable scale.

“It isn’t just for yourself and it’s not for a few people around you, this goes out into the community and has a far reaching impact.”

Mary Norville needed a student to help her with advertisement, planning, and getting people to sign up. That honor fell upon a Junior by the name Elizabeth Tarsia.

Tarsia became interested in blood drives after an unfortunate accident with her father where he had to be given donated blood. She realized that there were many other incidents happening all across the country where someone was in need of blood and she decided to get involved.

“Medically we needed a lot of help and kind of like thinking of not having enough of the materials they needed. Cause they can’t make blood it has to come from people and be donated. Just thinking of what would have happened if people wouldn’t have donated things or given their time,” Elizabeth speaks on just exactly what drove her to help.

She says this is a really important event and hopes to continue giving blood and be involved in the planning of future blood drives.

Michelle Robinson bringing in the Blood Buddy advertising costume.

The Red Cross employee in charge of helping plan and get resources on site at ACA is Michelle Robinson. A person who once had to receive blood herself in a dire situation Robinson knows exactly how this affects people and the good donating can do for people’s lives.

Some of the things she wants people to know about donating:

  • It is very important that you have plenty of healthy food with essential vitamins and nutrients especially iron before you go into donate.
  • She suggests getting a good night’s sleep and to be feeling good the day you donate.
  • Follow these simple guidelines and drink lots of water will ensure that your donating experience will be the best it can be.

The process of you going in and giving blood is quite simple on your part.

  • You arrive either during a signed up time slot or for a walk in donation and sign in. You will need some form of ID when checking in.
  • Then you will be asked questions about you health to make sure you are ready to give blood.
  • The Phlebotomist will check your blood for the proper amounts of iron with a tiny finger prick and if everything is on the up and up you will start your donation.
  • Once completed it is highly recommended that you relax, sit down, drink water, and eat food because giving blood is taxing on your body and you won’t be in tip top shape to just get back to classes.

Our blood drive here at ACA will be on May 15th from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. If you want to commit to the drive now there are sign ups not only to donate, but to come and get service hours by helping out with a multitude of tasks like escorting patients to the resting area or running papers to the phlebotomist.

Even if you are unable to donate blood there is always a way for you to help and give back to your community by volunteering at the drive.

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“American Red Cross.” American Red Cross,

Norville, Mary. Personal Interview. Apr. 22, 2019.

Robinson, Michelle. Personal Interview. Apr. 25, 2019.

Tarsia, Elizabeth. Personal Interview. Apr. 18, 2019