ORWELL — “Don’t be late to donate!” reads the Grand Valley National Honor Society’s blood drive tag line. On Oct. 4, the National Honor Society hosted their fall school-wide blood drive, which has become somewhat of a custom for NHS. In order to add some spirit to a very serious cause, NHS usually chooses a theme for their blood drive events, this blood drive’s theme being “Alice in Wonderland.”
Sponsored by American Red Cross, the set-up began in the early hours of the school day, NHS members arriving early to the building in order to assist with preparation. Setting up the different stations, hanging up posters, and arranging the layout of the atmosphere were some of the final touches on an event that NHS had been planning for weeks. As it finally came together, the NHS members went to their stations, ready for a day of communal volunteering.
“This event is important to NHS because it gets the word out for what we do in the community. It teaches us how to help others and give back in a different form,” said senior NHS member Kelsey Merritt. “By having the blood drive at the school, we’re bringing the opportunity to donate directly to the students.”
To tie the “Alice in Wonderland” theme together, NHS members wore costumes depicting different characters from the beloved children’s story. All the popular favorites were present — Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the rabbit, and Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
By choosing and submitting a theme to Red Cross, the NHS members are entered in a contest against other schools’ blood drive themes. The Golden Buddy Awards, held by the Red Cross at the end of the school year, acknowledge the most creative blood drives.
“Themes really bring up enthusiasm, especially in the younger generation,” said NHS adviser Carrie Brumit. “In the past, we have won awards for second runner-up on slogan and first runner-up for best theme.”
“Because we’ve done this before, it went very smoothly this time,” said senior NHS member Katie Paskey. “Our experience has really led us to the most possible success in running this. Then it’s only left up to the students to donate.”
Going into the event, NHS aimed to collect at least 50 pints of blood in order to receive $500 from Red Cross, or 29 pints for $250. The money is given in the form of scholarships to the school. By the end of the day, 50 pints exactly had been donated, a close but definite accomplishment.
Certain blood types, like O+, O-, A+ and A-, are more sought after, so students with those types were asked if they would be willing to participate in the double red blood cell donation, where they take more red blood cells but return the plasma to the body.
One Grand Valley student, senior Jake Naro, opted to step up and take part in this red blood cell donation.
“I felt that it would better help the greater good – I can help more people at once,” Naro said.
Along with students, community members were invited to attend provided they call the school office ahead of time to set up an appointment. To the excitement of the NHS members, several community members made an appearance for the blood drive and donated in support of their cause.
At the end of the day, the students helped wrap up the event by assisting the Red Cross nurses where needed and cleaning up the Alice in Wonderland posters, props and decorations. While it may have been a grueling workload to orchestrate, NHS members left feeling prideful of their careful planning and dedication to accomplishing such a critical goal.
The National Honor Society is excited to plan and host another themed blood drive in the spring.