LARNED — Thomas Harmon is the president of the Larned High School National Honor Society. On Monday, Oct. 30, members partnered with the Red Cross to hold a blood drive at the high school. For added fun and to raise awareness of the event, they opted to dress in Halloween costumes. Over the course of the day, 25 students gave blood. Most gave whole blood, but two students gave double-red blood, receiving plasma in return.
“It’s important to give blood because each when a person gives a pint of blood, they can save the lives of three people,” Harmon said. “And if you give double red, you can save six.”
This was the second time Harmon gave blood he said. The first time was at a LHS drive last year. Curiosity overcame nervousness, and in the process, he learned his blood type is O-negative.
“There’s a critical need for O-negative because it can be given universally, but for people with O-negative, its the only type they can receive,” he said. Learning this, he is now committed to giving as often as he possible can, he said.
He has a good example in NHS sponsor Chris Scheideman, who has given 48 times so far. Schideman said he is following the example of his grandfather, who gave 25 gallons over his lifetime.
“I look at it as a civic duty, and it only requires one to two hours of my time every 56 days,” he said. That’s how long a donor must wait between donations.
Volunteering for the annual blood drive at the high school is one way NHS members meet their goal of providing 25 hours of community service each school year. Scheideman said members helped as escorts, with check-in and helped transport Red Cross equipment into and out of the school. Each member was also asked to bring two doz. cookies for donors to help replenish their energy after giving.
Students need to be at least 16 years old with a parent’s consent to give, but consent was not required for those age 17 and older, Harmon said. Whether they had an appointment or chose to walk-in, teachers were agreeable to giving passes. For those giving whole blood, the process took about 35-40 minutes, and those giving double red spent an hour to an hour and 20 minutes from start to finish.
Harmon said because the need for blood is great this year, and the Red Cross supplies are at critical levels, so when they asked if members would be willing to organize a second event this school year, they were happy to help. A second drive will be held in February.