Students bring studies to life with blood drive

3:52 PM, Mar 14, 2014   |    comments
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YARMOUTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Seventh graders from Frank Harrison Middle School integrated their studies with service to help alleviate Maine's blood shortage.

Students learned about the circulatory system of the body for two weeks in the classroom, producing models and projects shown at the Red Cross office in Portland. Their final task was to put their knowledge to the test by organizing a blood drive at their school.

"If you don't know your blood type when you need blood... you can get O-negative and it will take as a filler," said seventh grader Lydia Guay. "It will make your body process the way it's supposed to be processed."

Students greeted donors at the school's entrance and signed them into the waiting area outside of the cafeteria. Others were in charge of the canteen area of the blood drive. Providing food for the donors and keeping track of the 15-minute wait time per donation.

"It's kind of, dip your foot in the water kind of thing," said Anna Sladek at the blood drive Wednesday night.

According to the Red Cross, one pint of blood can save three lives.

Students were asked to invite 10 adults to donate at the drive.

"It's been a difficult January and February [to get donations]," said Jennifer Goldman of the Red Cross of Maine. "Any time it snows or any time there is ice, donors simply don't come out. We often have blood drives cancelled."

Harrison Middle School hosts a student run blood drive annually. About 100 pints of blood have been donated each time for the last seven years.

"We try to collect 700 units a day [of blood in Northern New England], so this represents about a seventh of the blood supply we need to collect," said Goldman.

The Future Blood Donor Program is an American Red Cross initiative to get middle school students interested in becoming the next generation of blood donors. 

There is a program for elementary school-aged children, called 'Pint-Size Hero.' Goldman says there are about 10 schools in Maine that currently participate in those programs.

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