Annual blood drive set tomorrow

Today is deadline to sign up to become a donor


Valley Ventana

Former student Katelyn Obregon gives blood during the 2020 blood drive.

Bethany Mann, Staff Writer

 The summer after he turned 16, senior Blake Gomien went to his local CrossFit gym to donate when the American Red Cross hosted a blood drive there.

“I did it because I wanted to know what it felt like,” Gomien said, “and I was always told that I have great veins to give blood, so I was like, ‘OK, I guess I’ll do it.’”

Every year 6.8 million people in the United States donate blood, giving an estimated 13.6 million units, according to the American Red Cross. Smithson Valley High School’s staff and students are among that percentage.

The school’s annual blood drive, sponsored by the Family and Community Service program, is occurring Sept. 29. The blood will go to South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, distributed to 10 different hospitals. 

“I think it’s really important to do,” FACS program advisor  Aubrie Herring said. “I hope that (students) learn how important it is to give blood because you never know when you or a loved one might be the one in need of blood.”

Sign up began on Sept. 20 and will continue through to Sept. 28, the day before the blood drive. Both students and teachers are encouraged to sign up.

“Our goal is 120 sign ups,” Herring said. “We usually get fairly close — about 100 sign ups.”

The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center’s mobile unit will be in the parking lot on Sept. 29. Senior Meredith Lindsey donated blood two years ago during the school’s drive. 

“I really enjoyed donating blood in sophomore year,” Lindsey said. “The people were extremely nice and comforting since I was nervous to donate for the first time.”

Lindsey first heard about the drive from her friends in the FACS program who inspired her to donate.

“I felt so good after, knowing that I was helping people live longer lives,” Lindsey said. “I would do it again anytime to help others.”

The process of giving blood takes about 15 minutes, but there can be some side effects afterwards, especially for Gomien.

“I passed out,” Gomien said. “As soon as they were putting me back up in my chair, I lost consciousness. I don’t think I ate enough.”

Though he did not give blood at school, Gomien encouraged everyone to sign up.

“The school’s drive opens up an opportunity for a lot of people to give blood that might not otherwise,” Gomien said. “It also provides for a comfortable experience. If you’re able to give, you should.”