HOSA hosts blood drive ahead of conference

Published 10:00 am Thursday, April 18, 2024

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The Chambers County HOSA, Future Health Professionals (Health Occupations Students of America), will be hosting a blood drive to raise money to go to their international competition in the summer, where students from around the country and the world will come together to present health projects.

The blood drive will be done with LifeSouth Blood Drives, complete with a mobile bus where people can donate blood.

LifeSouth is the main supplier of blood products for the area’s hospitals, including East Alabama Medical Center-Lanier. A donation will be given to HOSA by LifeSouth depending on how many people give blood.

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There will be two opportunities to attend. On Friday, April 19, the HOSA students will be at the Valley Community Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, encouraging the community to give blood as a part of the Valley High School Day of Change volunteerism event.

Then on Monday, the LifeSouth unit will be in the parking lot of the Valley Walmart, also from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET.

The HOSA International Leadership Conference will be held in Houston, Texas, from June 26 to 29. Four HOSA students from Valley High won a place at the conference after winning the state competition: Shelby Bell, Lexi Chambers, Mady Turnham and Molly Williams. The group presented a project at the state competition on caffeine consumption.

“They basically designed a health message and taught that to a group of students,” said HOSA sponsor Jennifer Williams. “They had to do like a lesson plan and do a portfolio with research … pretest and post-test for how they knew those students learn.”

Williams said her health sciences students at Valley High began the project at the beginning of the year.

They took the final project to the state competition where they presented and won first place in health education. They will present the same project at the international competition, which will be attended by around 12,000 students, according to Williams.

All the products donated to their LifeSouth blood centers stay local. Blood can be used within 24 hours of donation, and LifeSouth will send donors a text message when the blood is used for a patient. The company promises that every donation saves three lives.

Individuals wanting to donate their blood must be at least 110 pounds, and 16 years or older. If under 18 years old, there must be parental consent. For other requirements, visit lifesouth.org/what-you-need-to-know/. A normal blood donation takes about 30 minutes and takes a pint of blood; plasma, platelets and red blood cells.

LifeSouth also has a double donation, which takes double the amount of red blood cells, giving the donor the plasma and platelets back. This process requires more time, saline is given to rehydrate the patient and takes an extra unit of blood. A regular donation can save up to three lives, a double donation can save up to six, and is often used for trauma patients.

Williams said the blood drive allows the community to help with the need for more blood donations as supplies have dwindled. It also provides funding for the students to attend the competition in Texas.

“This is the first time that we’ve made it to the International competition for my class. So we really want to be able to go and have a good showing there. And if anybody’s interested in donating to us … we’re open to donations,” Williams said.

For direct donations, Williams said to reach out to her at williamsje@chambersk12.org.