It’s in our blood to donate

Plank Article Brandon Curry ’25 Cooper Zarro '26

Every two seconds in the United States, someone needs blood. Unfortunately, according to the American Red Cross, the number of blood donors in the country has hit a 20-year low. Blood is needed now more than ever, and thankfully, Jesuit High School Sacramento stepped up to answer the call. 

Jesuit has been running a school-wide blood drive since 1985, and this year, Jesuit’s executive council partnered with Vitalant, a non-profit healthcare organization focused on blood and biotherapy, to run the event.

One of the main coordinators behind the drive was Junior Class Senator Rafael Edralin ’25. He is happy with the student body’s response to the event, especially with how little advance knowledge they had.

“I think the blood drive went really well,” Rafael said. “Student council started advertising about two weeks before the actual drive and got the actual PA announcements for it about a week before the drive. But the spots to donate (37) filled up really quickly in comparison to the time we started advertising. Including incentives like a free dessert from the cafeteria and a ‘skip the lunch line’ pass really helped motivate people to donate.”

The blood drive surpassed expectations, receiving far more than the initial goal for donations.

“We had 37 slots to fill up, and of the 37 slots that we had, 36 people walked through the door to give, which is pretty awesome,” said Student Activities Director Mr. Peter Ferrari. “We’re really happy with that, and Vitalant’s goal for us was to have 29 units of blood donated, and we had 39 units of blood donated over the course of the day. To go over their goal for us by over 30% is a pretty awesome thing.”

Vitalant has over 115 donation centers nationwide and delivers blood to more than 900 hospitals around the country. Heather Lenton, a phlebotomist from Vitalant, explains what happens to blood after it is donated.

“After the blood gets packaged, we take it back to [our warehouse in] West Sacramento,” Ms. Lenton said. “After that, they’ll take it to Mathers, which is where the lab is at, and then the lab will process it. From there, they [see] where each hospital needs what type of blood type and the quantity of what blood type. And then it simply gets shipped from Mathers.”

While donating blood certainly has a positive impact on others, many say that it can be beneficial to the donor as well. For Mr. Ferrari, the donation process calms his mind and allows him to focus on what really matters in his life.

“[Donating blood] slows you down because it takes about an hour,” Mr. Ferrari said. “Generally I’m a pretty busy guy, working at a pretty fast pace, and the times that I’ve donated blood it’s like ‘ok, you got to stop, you got to wait.’ [Donating blood] gives you some time to reflect on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.”

Zach Monahan ’25, a participant in this year’s blood drive, is a firm believer in the power of blood donation.

“Donating blood is inherently meaningful as it directly contributes to the preservation of human life by supplying crucial medical resources for patients in need,” Zach said. “The act underscores a sense of communal responsibility, emphasizing the collective impact individuals can have on public health and well-being through a selfless gesture.”