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Episode 57: JSD Students Are Largest ARUP Blood Donors in Utah

They donate more blood to ARUP than any other group or organization in the State of Utah. We’re talking about Jordan School District high school students.

On this episode of the Supercast, we visit a blood drive at Copper Hills High organized by HOSA students. We talk to the student donors and find out why CHHS manages to donate a record amount of blood each year and why ARUP couldn’t do their life-saving work without students.


Audio Transcription

(00:17):
Hello, and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. They donate more blood to ARUP than any other group or organization in the entire State of Utah. We're talking about Jordan School District high school students. Today, we visit a blood drive at Copper Hills High organized by HOSA students. HOSA is Health Occupation Students of America, and it is a club that promotes career opportunities in the healthcare industry. Every year, Copper Hills High students managed to donate a record amount of blood. ARUP is the sole provider of blood to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Shriners Hospital for children. And you have hospitals and clinics. They say their life-saving work simply wouldn't happen without help from students. Tell me your name.

Student:
My name is Ethan Woods.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And what is it that makes you want to give blood today?

Student:
Well, it's an easy and quick way to do service, especially with COVID-19. It's really hard to serve in the community and me personally, having O negative blood, I know that's really needed right now. And so, it's a really good way to give back to my community.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Giving O negative is a big positive. You're a rare breed. That's awesome. Do you do it for the free Gatorade?

Student:
Partially. The treats are a really nice bonus.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Have you given blood before?

Student:
I have given blood, I think three times before here, all part of the Copper Hills blood drive.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. So the needle is in your relaxed arm, how are you feeling?

Student:
It's like a feeling of calmness, I guess, because there's all the anxiety getting the needle in. But once it's actually in, I generally feel just really calm and relaxed.

Superintendent Godfrey:
There really are a lot of things like that in life.The anticipation is the worst. When you're sitting there giving blood, do you think about the fact that you're saving a life, that you're providing help to someone who can't get it any other way?

Student:
Probably something that I think about, I get calls from ARUP when they confirm that my blood has been used. I've done research about it and I know that O negative is one of the blood types that they use when they don't know an infant's blood type and the infant needs to be saved. So that's something I generally think about when donating blood.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That's awesome. Do you get to use this as an excuse for turning something in late or taking a test perhaps?

Student:
Well, I get to use it for service hours for the National Honor Society Club and I also get to miss class time, so that's great.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I know the reason you're doing it is to help people. It's nice to get a little icing on that cake though.

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What year in school are you?

Student:
I'm a senior.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What do you want to do?

Student:
I want to go into film production, actually.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That's exciting. What are your favorite movies?

Student:
I really love mystery movies, so like Clue the Classic.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Ah, yeah. Good. Nice, well, good luck with your career aspirations and thanks for being an inspiration donating blood today.

Student:
Thank you.

Student:
Well, I'm one of the hosts of council members. I'm just making sure everybody's 6 feet apart and what's your name?

Student:
It's Dixie Mulsatey.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And you do get to give out the snacks.

Student:
Well, yeah, kind of. Well, everybody just gets pick.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Everyone gets to pick.

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So you're not here to give them out. You're here more to protect them from people who want to overindulge.

Student:
Maybe.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What's the most popular?

Student:
The Fruit Roll-up.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Oh, the fruit by the foot. Yes. Excellent choice. Definitely.

Student:
And I think the cheeses.

Superintendent Godfrey:
How long have you been involved in HOSA?

Student:
This is gonna be my second year, but this year I'm part of the council members.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What does the blood drive mean to you as a member of HOSA?

Student:
I feel like it's a sign of hope. It i really brings our school together because one of our schools was one of the most hubs. They depend on us a lot and our schools is one of the biggest donors. So it's really nice to bring everyone together and give more, you know, we're helping everybody out.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Tell me your name.

Student:
My name is Ila Mikich.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Ila, tell me about HOSA for those who aren't familiar with the organization. What do you do? It is what it stands for.

Student:
Well, HOSA stands for Health Occupation Students of America. And it's basically just a club for anyone that is interested in the medical field. And it's a really great club. It's very welcoming. The advisors and the students members, they're all very, very kind and respectful. We do lots of service projects. Like last year we did a rice bags for children at the hospital for the cancer patients this year. We're planning on doing like fleece blankets for them too. We also do a lot of medical related stuff. We might even have a surgery we're going to watch, like a surgery and a virtual surgery happened this year.

What is HOSA's involvement in the blood drive?

Student:
HOSA's involvement? Well we have our host, some members and our advisors. We try to get as many people as we can to sign up for the blood drive. So we promote it for about two weeks before the blood drive happens. Today, we are just helping out by standing here, making sure everyone gets checked in. And then you have someone assigned, making sure everyone is social distancing.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What percentage of those who sign up show up last year?

Student:
I know we had about 150 people sign and usually have like about 120 people show up.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That's a really good showing. That's really good. Thanks for the work you're doing. I think it's fantastic.

Student:
Yeah. Thanks.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Thanks for talking with us. Stay with us to hear more about students who are helping to save lives by donating blood.

Stacee Worthen:
Hello, I'm Stacee Worthen, Secondary Counseling Specialist for Jordan School District. Do you know all the ways during school that District counselors can help you and your students? School counselors play such an important role in our schools. They provide parents with resources to help guide their children in academics. They provide support with the mental and social well-being of students in our school. And, if you were in the process of preparing a student for college or just beginning the conversation of higher education, now is the perfect time to reach out to your child's counselor. We can assist with college applications and college readiness. I encourage parents and guardians to schedule an appointment and get to know your student's counselor. Together, counselors and parents can help develop plans and strategies for students to succeed, long after they leave Jordan School District. Reach out. We're always here to help. You can find us and learn more at counseling.jordandistrict.org.

Superintendent Godfrey:
We're here with Rob from ARUP at the Copper Hills High School blood drive. This is not the first blood drive Copper Hills High School has gone.

Rob:
Copper Hills is actually the largest blood drive we hold all year. We hold the four individual drives with Copper Hills throughout the school year, collect more units here than we do from any of our other sponsors.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Any sponsor. Now, does that mean any other high school sponsor?

Rob:
Any sponsor, other church, any other University and any other businesses. Copper Hills and their drives collects more blood for us than any of the other sponsors.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Why do you think that is? What is it about Copper Hills?

Rob:
I haven't been able to put a finger on it. The teachers are always enthusiastic and I think that enthusiasm spills over into the students. And every time I come here, there's just been a great outpouring of support. Students are willing to put the effort into it and willing to make sure that the blood drives are successful.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I think it's a great tradition and that sounds like it's built momentum over the years. That makes us number one. I like to hear that.

Rob:
Yes, it's a great tradition. It's actually, you can have a great tradition in Jordan District. Some of the biggest high schools in the state here that are holding blood drives with, we collect nearly a thousand units of blood from all of the schools combined and Copper Hills kind of leads the way. But all the other schools are running right close behind.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Are there some groups that have decided not to sponsor a blood drive this year because of the pandemic?

Rob:
Since around March 12th when most of the drives started canceling, the majority of the drives that canceled were business drives. They were sending their employees home, working from home. And drives are still continuing to cancel on a regular basis. Our business drives we're seeing through the summer, since the pandemic came into full effect, we've seen a lot of church sponsored blood drives, and that's been kind of our main support through the summer.

But now that the schools are back in, we're seeing the schools wanting to put in keep the drives going and put in the effort to help us be here. The students are so willing to support the blood drives. We've just been really looking forward and hoping that the school stay open. If we can be here to hold these drives, is it just so well supported and we're so grateful for the efforts of the students and their advisor.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So without students you'd be in trouble.

Rob:
We would, we'd still be struggling along. We were averaging around 20 blood drives a month since April. We should be upwards of 45 to 50. We were averaging about 17 units of blood every single blood drive, which is less than half of what we would normally average. So now that we're back into the schools, we're hoping to see that average go up. We definitely have more drives on the calendar. We're just hoping and praying that the units are coming in.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What are some of the precautions being taken to make sure that blood drives are safe in the midst of a pandemic?

Rob:
As many as the CDC has put out and as we can actually instigate or implement in one of our blood drives. We're doing it. Our staff, when they show up to our facility to get ready to go to a blood drive, puts on a mask, then they wear that mask through the entire day, in transit to the drive, mask while they're at the blood drive, unless they're having their lunch or taking a drink they stay masked. And then they stay masked in transit back to our facility, as they check out and do with the end of the day work. And then they don't take their mask off again until they leave. We are doing regular checks for their temperatures to make sure that they're staying healthy, asking them to self quarantine if they have any sort of illness symptom. We are testing the staff on a weekly basis to make sure that everybody's safe. When we come to a facility for a blood drive, we're measuring out spacing between waiting areas and actual working stations to make sure that we've gotten the physical distancing.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Where does the blood go?

Rob:
Where does the blood go? Wow, we're the sole provider of blood to Huntsman Cancer Hospital, the University Hospital in their clinics and the Shriner's Hospital for children and a couple other facilities around the Salt Lake Valley.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And what's the need level right now?

Rob:
Boy, I put it this way. The need is always increasing. We need blood every single day. Hard to say exactly how much we're going to need every day. Each day is a little bit different. Earlier in September, we had 25 patients come into the hospital. One of those patients used 179 products on their own. That is two Copper Hills is blood drives to one patient. But then  yesterday, we had 36 patients come in and 46 products were used. So it just kind of depends on the day. The best way to put it is there's a constant need on a daily basis. And that need doesn't diminish. It's just always there.

Superintendent Godfrey:
How long does blood stay good for?  How long can it be used after it's been donated?

Rob:
From a whole blood unit, we'll take generally two products, red blood cells and plasma red blood cells last for about 35 days. Plasma can be frozen because it's mostly water and it will last for about a year. Usually within that 35 days shelf life, those red blood cells are used.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So, based on the need you described, it would be pretty rare for anything to expire or get even close.

Rob:
Very rare, this time of year and what the conditions we are in now. Very rare.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What are the qualifications to donate blood who's eligible and who isn't?

Rob:
Basically, we're looking for donors that are healthy and well no symptoms of any illness, not just COVID-19, but just any illness. That's the first check for any of our blood donors. Are you feeling healthy and well today? High school is a little bit different because we have to make sure that the donors have the body mass, so they have enough blood in their system to be able to donate. But in general, donors need to be 110 pounds 16, 17, 18 years old. Sixteen is the youngest we'll take. Most people are eligible to donate blood. We'll put it that way. Most just need realize that they can do it.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What would someone need to do if they wanted to participate in giving blood?

Rob:
Best way for them is to go to our website, utahblood.org. They can reach out to us through that way. They can a blood drive there, or they can at least get in touch with us and we can help them find the closest drive to them. We've got drives all over the State every single month. Well, all over Northern Utah, Utah County up into Cache County. They just need to get in touch with us and we can help them find the drive that's closest to them.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So what would you say to students who have been participating in been supporting the blood drives? Not just this year, but over the years.

Rob:
First of all, thank you so much. You've been a great contributor to the lives of so many. It would be awesome to be able to take you to the hospital and introduce you to these people, and to their families who you've helped support and save lives, but we don't get to do that. All I can tell you is thank you. And there are so many out there, my brother included, that that wouldn't be alive today without your efforts.

Superintendent Godfrey:
How did the HOSA students, the Health Occupation Students of America get involved in helping set these up? What's their role?

Rob:
Their role is from beginning to end. I contacted the advisor. The advisor helps me get blood drives on the schedule. And then I meet with the advisor and the students three to four weeks outside of a blood drive to talk to them about how the day needs to be set up, what needs to be in place for each one of the donors, make sure that they understand the process that needs to be gone through so that all the donors that are coming to the drive as prepared as possible. They're here at the drives helping check in students, making sure that they're coming with everything that they need to be prepared to donate. They're here in the canteen, watching the donors after they've donated to make sure that they're feeling well, but the most important job that they play is making sure that the donors are getting signed up. They're recruiting for us. They're our mouthpiece when we can't be. They're the ones that are talking the blood drives up, encouraging the people to donate the sign up, to donate and encouraging people to be here. So without them, we wouldn't be able to hold it.

Superintendent Godfrey:
It's the best kind of peer pressure.

Rob:
Absolutely.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Thank you, Rob. Appreciate it.

Thanks for joining us for another episode of the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see you out there.

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