Donations help many lives

Student benefits from blood drive

Angel Gonzalez

At St. Jude’s Hospital a nervous girl is about to get her first antibody
IV. Years later that nervous girl still needs more. Where do the
antibodies come from? Blood.
Brianna Simpson, junior, was that nervous little girl. She needs
these IVs every month.
These life saving antibodies come from blood donated at blood
banks all over the United States.
“It takes two hours,” Simpson said. She describes the process like
getting blood drawn, except they’re just putting antibodies in.
The blood drive Stagg had in November put some much needed
blood in the supply that California has. This was taken by phlebotomist
technicians like Nora Hilda Hurtado-Gutierrez. Her position
involves drawing blood and checking vitals to make sure people are
One unit of blood can save three lives.
Hurtado-Gutierrez said that it’s good for donors, too, because the
blood bank takes old blood, allowing the body to make more fresh
Red blood cells are used for people with iron deficiencies or just to
replace blood that is lost.
White blood cells are used for people who have low immune systems.
Technicians take the white blood cells and put them into patients
so the patient can fight off everyday germs, viruses and bacteria.
Platelets help clot blood for people that have thrombocytopenia.
These people do not bleed like healthy people. When healthy
people get a cut they dab a cloth on it to stop the bleeding. People
with thrombocytopenia get a cut and it does not stop. It keeps bleeding
and bleeding until they get sewed up or get enough platelets to
clot the opening. This means that a person with this condition can die
from a cut about two or more inches long.
Plasma is the hardest to explain because it is comprised of lots of
things left over in the blood. One of these leftover components are
antibodies, which Simpson needs.
The antibodies are y-shaped cells that attach to viruses and other
bacteria that can destroy many of our healthy cells if handled or put
under control.
The antibodies attach to the germs and do not allow it to spread.
Then other cells come and take in the germs and antibodies and destroy
When Simpson gets cells from donors, they help her fight her illnesses.
These cells have already seen and fought off the germs before,
which makes them better at fighting them now. Since they are fighting
for Simpson’s health, she acquires the donor’s immunity.
Hurtado-Gutierrez said that O-negative is the universal donor.
This blood is needed very badly because if people are injured
and they cannot tell the doctors what their blood type is, the doctors
can just give them O-negative blood and they will be fine. Also, if
children do not know their blood types, they just get O-negative.
Hurtado-Gutierrez said they need blood, so come and bring a
friend or relative. “We don’t bite.”