The CanCare club at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa conducted their annual blood drive on 8 October 2015, in collaboration with the Kenya Red Cross on-campus. Children above the age of 16 and parents alike were invited to donate one pint of blood (approximately 473 ml) during the Parent-Teacher Conferences in session on the same day.
Prior to the blood drive campaign, a Red Cross Representative visited the Academy and shared the benefits of donating blood with the Diploma Programme (DP) students. We then had the opportunity to ask questions and clarify any doubts we had about the procedure. The representative assured all students that blood donation is an extremely safe procedure, which takes only a few minutes.
Some of the facts he shared with us included:
- One pint of blood can save up to three lives.
- Most donated red blood cells can be stored for up to 42 days.
- Much of today’s medical care depends on a steady supply of blood from healthy donors.
- Children being treated for cancer, premature infants and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets from donors of all types, especially from the blood type O.
- Anemic patients need blood transfusions to increase their red blood cell levels.
- Cancer, transplant and trauma patients, and patients undergoing open-heart surgery may require platelet transfusions to survive.
Being a first time donor, I had an extremely fulfilling experience despite the fact that a bit of pain was involved. It was an interesting process that involved filling out a survey form in order to check if I was fit to donate, having my weight, blood pressure, age and blood type tested, having to wait in a pleasantly surprising long queue to donate, and waiting for an entire pint of blood to be pumped out of my arm. However, knowing that my blood, being O+, can save anybody’s life was worth the little bit of discomfort during and after the procedure.
After donation, we were given the opportunity to relax in a special lounge set up for us and enjoy a free bottle of soda, before returning to our activities for the day or having a snack at the CAS group stalls all around the area.
All in all, due to the huge turnout and all the reciprocal benefits involved, it was a note-worthy experience for donors and organizers alike.
Inaara Gangji, Year 11