NHS Gives Back with Annual Blood Drive
With raffles, nurses, lawn chairs, and someone in a character costume, looking like a drop of blood, April 2 was no ordinary day in Nutley High School. Tucked away in the auxiliary gym was Key Club’s annual blood drive, where students, staff, and community members could donate blood to save lives.
Key Club is dedicated to giving back to the community, with regular volunteer opportunities. The blood drive is just one of several annual service activities, including a Thanksgiving food drive and a toy drive during the holidays. The club is advised by Mrs. Denise Mazza, who works in the library and has led Key Club for about six years, and Mrs. Tina D’Urso, a Spanish and Italian teacher and advisor for the past four years.
The blood drive has been a staple of Key Club for almost two decades. The drive is done with the help of the New York/New Jersey Blood Center, who bring a head nurse, several phlebotomists, the people who draw blood, nurses to screen, and volunteers for the canteen. The blood that is collected goes to different places in the Northern New Jersey area, such as hospitals and surgery centers.
This year’s drive saw a substantial turnout, with 92 total units of blood collected. Each unit can help save the lives of three people, leading to a total of 276 lives saved. There were even more people who came to donate, but were turned away for medical reasons.
“[I enjoy] the fact that we’re helping people and providing a service to the community. This has a huge impact on people’s lives, because it actually directly helps them,” says Mrs. Mazza.
Mrs. D’Urso shares a similar comfort in, “knowing that we are saving lives and helping others” with the blood drive.
Before the event, Key Club members were diligent in spreading the news and getting people to join. Flyers were hung around the school and students made visits to classrooms to inform others about the drive and how they can get involved. They handed out permission slips to classmates and urged their friends to donate.
As an incentive, the Key Club held a raffle each hour during the drive, giving away gift cards and other prizes to participants, which were donated by different local businesses. The grand prize was a free prom ticket for seniors.
Senior Nina Patel, the president of Key Club, was tasked with finding a group of student volunteers for the event, getting raffle prizes, and overcoming a fear of needles. “The process of donating blood was hard for me because I’m very afraid of needles,” Nina said. “However, the person who took my blood was very funny and nice so it made me more calm.” Once the needle was in, it was smooth sailing.
“I definitely will donate blood again because it’s a great way to help save three lives and it’s totally worth the fear that builds up right until the needle goes in,” she says.
Key Club’s blood drive gives many people, especially students, the opportunity to directly give back to the community, which can start helpful habits in regular blood donation. Students are able to get involved more easily with its accessibility, giving them a chance to save someone’s life without having to leave school.