Local blood bank encourage high school students to donate amid COVID-19

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ARCATA, Calif. (KIEM)-More than 120 blood drives have been cancelled- amid COVID-19 -including high school spring & fall drives which bring in 25% of the areas blood supply.

That’s one reason the Northern California Community Blood Bank is specifically targeting those between 16 and 17-years-old.

Director of Donor Resources John Gullam with NCCBB COVID-19 has impacted their operation, especially on school campuses.

“With odd study at home schedule, and such, we’ve had to adapt,” said Gullam.

Normally, there would have been three mobile blood collection units at Arcata High School this week, according to the northern community blood bank’s director of donor resources.

“We would have seen 120 – 125 students, what we’ve needed to do is spread those donations out during the week, “said Gullam.

Kendra Flint is an Arcata High School Senior and helped organize mobile blood drives.

“We just decided to host them in parking lots in Arcata to get as many students,” she said.

Including, community members of any age – however the focus – those from a specific age group.

“Getting someone in for the first time is the hardest so when it’s easily accessible to young people they’ll come in and donate and they’re not as scared.

Something High School Senior Kendra Flint is familiar with – she says, she went with a friend her first time – now she donates blood about every eight weeks.

“I donate so much, so, I have to wait until December,” she said.  

Data shows those between 16 and 17 years old will be more likely be a lifetime donor if they’ve had access to a blood drive at a young age,” according to Flint.  

“For us, it’s important because we folks to become lifetime donors,” said Gullum. 

If you missed the blood mobile stationed at Wildberries in Arcata – you have two more opportunities.

The Arcata Safeway on Tuesday, and the Arcata Co-Op on Wednesday both from noon to 6 p.m.

Gullam asks that 16-year-olds who want to donate blood, bring a completed consent form signed by a parent each time they donate.