SALISBURY TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
Fifth grade students at Western Salisbury Elementary School are learning about blood and its importance as part of an extension of their science unit on body systems.
This science unit is part of teacher Kathy DeBona’s participation in the district’s #YourSalisbury goal. Librarian Barbara Jaindl worked as a teammate on the project and supplied resources for the students’ written reports.
A visit from Sharon Stephens from Miller-Keystone Blood Center Jan. 31 confirmed the students had done their homework and knew the importance of blood and its various functions in the body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 9.5 million blood donors in the United States with an estimated 5 million patients who receive blood annually.
Stephens told the students Miller-Keystone Blood Center is the number one supplier of blood to 26 hospitals.
“Blood donated here, stays here,” Stephens said.
At Miller-Keystone Blood Center, 400 to 500 units of blood are needed each day. Stephens said once every two seconds, someone needs a blood donation.
Some of the people who need blood are premature babies, cancer patients, accident victims, organ transplant receipients, surgery patients, burn victims or people born with blood disorders such as hemophilia, anemia and sickle cell disease.
Students knew that each unit of blood can save three lives.
An explanation of various components of blood confirmed what the students had been studying – platelets stop bleeding by clumping and clotting blood vessel injuries, plasma contains nutrients and proteins, white blood cells protect the body against infection and red blood cells carry oxygen to all organs and remove carbon dioxide from the body.
Stephens said blood is divided into four main types: A, B, AB and O and all types are needed at the blood center.
Stephens explained what it looks like when someone donates blood at the center or inside any of the collection vans. It takes about an hour to donate blood and refreshments are served following each donation. Donors should take it easy for the rest of the day following a donation.
Students 16 years of age and older (there is no age limit) are able to donate blood at any of the Miller-Keystone Blood Centers or any mobile blood collection vans. The minimum weight for a donor is 110 pounds.
The students have organized a blood drive 1 to 7 p.m. Feb. 8 at the school.
Sixteen slots were allotted and there is currently a waiting list. If 16 people are able to donate, students calculated 48 lives could be saved.
The students advertised the blood collection drive by creating posters and commercials on the Salisbury channel on RCN.
Asked why the students organized a blood drive, they said “We thought it would be good to help.”
Students are excited about the blood drive Feb. 8 and may have some surprises planned for the donors.