School hosts emergency blood drive, blood shortage in Mississippi


Anna Barrett

Sophomore Mary Paxton Heiskell exits the United Blood Services donor bus after giving blood. The school decided to host the blood drive because of Mississippi’s low amount of donated blood throughout the state.

Anna Barrett, Staff Writer

Oxford High School holds two blood drives every year: one in the fall and one in the spring. Due to a shortage of blood in the state, there was an emergency drive held at the school on Feb. 6.

“We have a contract with United Blood Services, and every year we have a drive for them,” Assistant Principal Chandler Gray said. “Actually, right now, we are in a critical stage, and across the state especially, we are critically low on blood.”

Library Assistant Susan Kelly, who also is the blood drive coordinator for OHS, received an email from a representative of United Blood Services asking if OHS would host an emergency blood drive due to the shortage.

“I forwarded the email to Mr. Roberson to see if he would approve it, and he did,” Kelly said. “I received the email on a Friday, and they scheduled a drive for the following Tuesday.”

According to Kelly, to sign up, a student must go online and schedule for a slot and must show up with a minor donor permit form (if the student is under 18) and his or her ID.

“All 28 slots were filled,” Kelly said. “I don’t know if all 28 gave. I do know that 28 attempted to give, but sometimes there are problems such as low iron; they can’t give if their iron is too low.”

Kelly believed that they would have a hard time recruiting students to sign up that quickly, but they ended up having no trouble at all.

“At about seven Monday morning, the admin team, we were sitting in the office getting ready to sign up for it, and it was already full,” Gray said.

Gray believes it was an attest to the OHS staff and students’ charitable spirit that so many were willing to donate blood.

“This means a lot to me because I’ve always wanted to help out people in need, and now that I’ve donated, I can help a person live and save their families from having to suffer the loss of a loved one,” sophomore Mary Paxton Heiskell said.

Heiskell believes that everyone should donate at least once if the opportunity arises.

“I just want to tell everyone to donate. I know it seems scary, but it’s really not,” Heiskell said. “The nurses are super nice and always make sure you’re okay throughout the whole process. And a little bonus is it doesn’t hurt. I am super afraid of needles, but this is no trouble at all, and it was really empowering and enlightening. So, I highly suggest donating when you get the chance to.”