The Viper Vibe
Donors save livesSaturday, November 11, 2006 By Ayana Flewellen/Managing Editor
Students sported red, yellow and blue armbands that have shown once again that Varela is one of the top schools to donate blood in Dade County. On the October 19, 115 donors came out to the blood drive that took place in room 149 and in the bus range. “We had a lot of students turn out,” said Mr. David Thomas, HOSA adviser and the teacher who sponsors the blood drives. Students have to be at least 17 years old and have good iron blood content in order to donate blood. Varela sponsors two types of donations, whole blood donation and platelet donations. With whole blood donations, the donor’s blood is separated into its component parts, red cells, platelets, and plasma. With platelet donations only the donor’s platelets are removed from the blood in a process called Apheresis. Platelets are the part of the blood that help clotting to control bleeding. According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the process allows whole blood to be drawn from the donor then about 18% of the platelets are separated from the blood in a cell separation machine. What is left of the blood is then returned to the donor. This donation takes approximately two hours, so students hooked up to those machines were treated to juice, cookies and a movie. It is a completely sterile process since the donor’s blood never actually comes into contact with the machine. Unfortunately, platelets only last about five days and the need is great for patients suffering from certain cancers and that lose a lot of blood during surgeries. Whole blood donations can be done every 56 days because they take out one pint of blood. According to Florida Blood Services, the average human contains 10-12 pints of blood. However, Apheresis can be done every two weeks since only the platelets are removed. This year the three platelet separation machines were in plain view in room 149. Laura Berrouet, junior, has been helping out with the blood drive for 3 years “The time it takes on the platelet machines depends on the size and weight of the donor,” she said. Every year more and more people need blood and every year there is never nearly enough blood available. “I donate blood because it helps people and my family donates a lot of blood,” said junior, Stephen Varela.