762 lives saved and countingJul 01, 2022 11:40AM ● By Jet Burnham
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Students and staff at Copper Hills High helped save 762 lives this past school year. The CHHS HOSA club sponsored four blood drives during the 2021-22 school year, collecting 254 units, with a surprising 71 in their final drive in May, which historically has been their smallest.
Rob Fox with ARUP Blood Services Community Relations said the May drive was the biggest blood drive of the year.
“It was not just the biggest blood drive of the year for Copper Hills, which it was; or the biggest high school sponsored blood drive of the year, which it was; it was the biggest blood drive we have held with any group for the last year,” he said.
Fox said CHHS is consistently the most successful single sponsor of all the individual schools, businesses, churches and community groups who coordinate with him. They even sponsored blood drives during the COVID pandemic while most other groups did not.
Jordan School District, as a whole, collects more pints of blood than any other district from Cache Valley to Utah County.
“We did 19 blood drives with Jordan School District last year and collected 718 units, obviously the majority of those coming from Copper Hills,” Fox said.
Fox has asked several times what CHHS’ secret to success is.
“I'd love to know what's different there so I can encourage other sponsors to do the same things,” Fox said. “Nobody's ever really been able to put a finger on it, what are they doing different. All I know is that they just continue every single year to be willing to put forth the effort to make sure that the blood drives are successful.”
HOSA advisers Madison Jenkins and Eva Peterson said the success is due to HOSA council members setting high expectations and being well-organized.
“They are also just really passionate about helping people and
they're very friendly and so they're not afraid to go out of their way to ask
people to donate,” Peterson said.
Donating has become part of the school culture, said Jenkins, so the students don’t need a lot of convincing.
“We just have such an amazing student body who loves to help people, and this is a perfect opportunity for them to take a little bit of time to help and save three lives,” Jenkins said.
HOSA council member Tanner Hepworth said reminding students that each pint of blood can save up to three lives has been a great recruitment method.
“We try to appeal to kids and we say, ‘Hey, you don't really need this small amount of blood they're gonna take from you but someone else may be in dire need of it,’” he said. “We have a lot of kids that are always willing to do it, and usually if people donate once, they do come back [for the next drive].”
Students who meet the requirements and get parent permission are excused from class for 45-90 minutes to donate. Donors are given drinks, snacks and a gift card for a free pint of Baskin Robbins ice cream. But most aren’t doing it for the treats.
Hepworth, next year’s HOSA president, is excited to continue the tradition.
“I always feel really good after it, especially when we get our higher numbers,” he said. “It just feels good, knowing we can help people.”
The first drive is scheduled for September but Fox said there is a need for donations now.
“Donated blood is needed and used every single day, 365 days a year,” he said. “It's not something that is held in reserve for when there's a natural disaster or an accident or somebody getting sick. Patients in the hospital right now are using donated blood that was collected five days ago.”
He said donations drop during the summer, though the need for them goes up significantly. Blood drives are held nearly every day. To find one in your community, visit arupbloodservices.org.