EHS to host blood drive on Monday

ELKINS – Students from Elkins High School are teaming up with the American Red Cross to host a blood drive on Monday in honor of March being Red Cross Month.

EHS senior Becky Smith is the student coordinator of the event, which will be held in the auxiliary gym from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The blood drive is open to the public.

Smith said this is her second year of involvement, and her first time coordinating.

“It’s really hard to get high-schoolers to donate but it’s important for as many people who are able to do so,” she said. “Even one donation can save lives. In fact, one pint of blood can save up to three lives.”

Smith said this is the third blood drive this year at EHS, and a fourth is scheduled in May. The blood drives are sponsored by the Youth Leadership Club and Tiger Express. Barbara Zimmerman, the faculty advisor who oversees the events, said the blood drives require that students coordinate “a lot of planning and follow through.”

“These guys work really hard to get these events to work,” Zimmerman said. “It’s good to see them doing these things and finding

success.”

Tanner Boatwright, another EHS senior, knows the importance of donating blood, as he has first-hand experience. Boatwright was shot in a hunting accident – “a direct shot to the femoral artery” he said – and he lost six pints of blood in the process. A paramedic was able to save his life by pumping blood back into his body, he said. Boatwright lost his leg – he now wears a prosthesis – but donated blood saved his life, he said.

Now Boatwright encourages people to donate whenever possible.

“I’ve been very lucky,” he said. “Donated blood saves lives everyday. Since my accident, I’ve been able to continue my athletic career by participating in pre-Olympic qualifying events for snowboarding. All of that is possible because someone, somewhere took a few minutes out of their day and donated blood.”

Parental permission is required for all 16-year-olds to donate blood, although 17-year-olds can donate without parental consent in West Virginia. Every donation is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses, and other infectious diseases.

According to the American Red Cross, student athletes should wait about 12 hours or more to resume strenuous exercise after blood donation, due to a temporary loss of fluids. The body usually replaces those fluids within 24 hours or sooner if the donor drinks extra fluids. Athletes are cautioned to not donate on the same day of a competition or strenuous exercise.

The EHS Tiger Express School Community Christmas Project is also scheduled on Monday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Bob Evans in Elkins. The restaurant will donate 15 percent of sales to the project when presented with the flyer for the event.

Contact Chad Clem by email at cclem@theintermountain.com.