Inform · Connect · Entertain

Spartan Scoop

Spartan Scoop

Inform · Connect · Entertain

Spartan Scoop


What the blood drive is all about
Lexi Bartholomew
One of serval posters around Sentinel

Sentinel High School and other MCPS schools have been participating in the American Red Cross Blood Drive for at least 15 years. The American Red Cross partners with the Key Club to help plan and prep the drive that happens twice a year. 

I spoke with Joe Fischer, the head of the Key Club, to give information everyone should know about blood drives and the club itself. October 2nd was Sentinel’s first blood drive of the 2023 – 2024 school year! The second drive will be in the following spring. 

Fischer was not there for the initial partnership with the American Red Cross, but he does understand why they did it. He explains, “blood security is very important in the United States and it’s critical that people – hopefully people can give blood. That’s really what keeps our system going.” 

There are a few reasons that the blood drives are stager the way that they are. The first one is that a person can only draw blood once every 56 days so your body can healthily replenish itself. As well as doing it between sports seasons, so all students can safely have that opportunity to participate if they want to, so it doesn’t affect their health. 

With that being said, there are requirements to be able to draw blood. You have to be 16 years old at least, and if you are 16 or 17 you have to get parental consent before doing so. Other obligations are that you have to be a certain weight so it’s safely done. The exact numbers vary for men and women as well for whatever your height is. You have to be healthy, as well as have a safe blood pressure to meet medical standards.

There are other random things that have to be looked at before you are okay to donate. For example you can’t have a tattoo done within three months of drawing blood. 

Sentinel has a cap of 35 participants that can donate every drive. Mr. Fischer gives a rough estimate that 25 of 35 participants are Sentinel students, and the other ten are teachers or even other members of the community. 

Blood is always needed, but we are in an even more of a crisis right now. On September 11 this year the American Red Cross declared a national blood shortage. 

The supply of blood has dropped 25% since August alone. Despite this, there has also been a sky rocket increase of people donating their blood. The American Red Cross explains how they would need 10,000 additional blood products every week over the course of the next month to get to a sufficient place to meet patient and hospital needs.  

Despite an increase of recent donations, this is not an easy fix. Experts with the American Red Cross are saying an intense fall weather season could cause further damage to the demand of blood.

Why is there a blood shortage though? 

Only 38% of the US population are eligible to donate blood as of 2021. 

CNN Health explains, “The aging donor base is making it harder and harder for blood centers to collect”. There are a few reasons why there has been a drop in donor turnout. Those consist of: “one of the busiest travel seasons on record, back-to-school activities ─ and back-to-back months of almost constant climate-driven disasters”. 

Other than just the impact of donating blood, there is a lot of importance in the community during the blood drives every year.

Fischer explains how the Kiwanis Club of Missoula is “kind of our parent, they sponsor our club”. The Kiwanis Missoula is a group of adults who are very invested in making an impact and change in our community. Fischer also thinks that this is important for the students to be a part of.

“I think it’s important for kids to understand they can make a difference”

— Joe Fischer

Being the head of the Key Club, Fischer sees a lot of students in their true light. He loves seeing students genuinely see how they are making a difference in others lives.

He also says, “[volunteering] is just a very healthy way to engage with the community”. Sentinel High School is very committed to the Missoula community and seeing students take their own time to help others is wonderful to see.

If you were unable to donate blood during the drive there are other ways to do so. At any point you can make an appointment with Missoula Red Cross Blood and Platelet Donation Center to donate. It’s that simple!

Key Club does more than just plan blood drives. They do lots of community service and activities to better our school community. 

Helping set up activities and plan events for Sentinel are just a few more things that Key Club participates in.

It’s easy to be a part of Key Club! If you are interested in any of the activities or community service that is done, all you need to do is meet in Fischer’s room (202) on Wednesdays.

For freshmen to join they need to be “a member in good standing” and have twenty hours of service. As for sophomores, juniors, and seniors they need thirty hours of community service within the calendar year (school year). 

If you wanna be more invested in the Sentinel community or even Missoula as a whole Key club would be great to be a part of.

About the Contributor
Lexi Bartholomew
Lexi Bartholomew, Reporter
my spotify playlists are cooler than yours