By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now
NEWTON—Hesston resident John Miller reclined quietly on a chair Thursday morning as blood flowed from his body.
He was one of many people to donate blood that day during the American Red Cross blood drive at Newton High School.
“Basically just to do what I can,” he said about why he was donating blood. “There’s an incredibly large blood-supply shortage.”
Even though it was really cold outside, people went to NHS to donate, including members of the public, like Miller, as well as students and staff.
Miller, who works in Newton, was doing a different kind of donation.
“He’s doing what we call a Power Red procedure,” said Debra Goodner with the Red Cross. “It’s when we get more red cells so we can give him back his platelets, plasma and saline to compensate the loss of red cells, and he doesn’t have to come as often as someone doing a normal procedure.”
People doing the Power Red procedure can donate every 112 days instead of every 56, said Tammy McCune, account manager with the American Red Cross.
Another donor, student Noelle Buentello, had her reasons for giving.
“It’s just for a good cause,” she said.
The Red Cross had a goal.
“The goal today is 46 units and we have 65 appointments,” said Caroline Miller, Red Cross team supervisor with blood services. “The majority are students who are first-time donors.”
McCune said the total number they received was 39 units.
One group at the high school makes it possible for the blood drive to occur.
“It’s a yearly effort by student council,” said Carly Stovall, communications director with USD-373. “However, last year it didn’t take place due to the pandemic.”
She said students donating can be 16 with parental consent and can donate at 17 without it.
McCune said she’s not sure when the Red Cross started doing blood drives at the high school, since their records only go back to February 2008, but she knows they did it before then, as well. Since 2017, they’ve only gone to NHS once a year and the high school now has agreed to have blood drives twice a year, McCune said.
During the local blood drive, they used safety measures, such as mask wearing, hand sanitizing and social distancing.
“We disinfected all the surfaces and equipment,” she said, adding she wants to ensure potential donors they do that and that things are safe.
Around 11:45 a.m., three NHS Student Council members manned the front desk, checking donors in on the mezzanine level. They were Isaac Klug, Nick Treaster and Regan Hirsh.