Hanceville High School blood drive surpasses donor goal

Senior Caleb Stephens gives blood at Tuesday’s blood drive at Hanceville High School (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

 HANCEVILLE. Ala. – Students at Hanceville High School filled every spot available for their spring blood drive with the American Red Cross. Tuesday’s blood drive was held in the lobby of the school’s gymnasium and students were happy to donate, many for the first time.  

LEO Club Adviser Tina Weldon and members of the Hanceville High School LEO Club organized Tuesday’s blood drive. Leldon said, “So far, all of our donors today have been students, with the exception of two. Our kids are really good to come out. We had to actually add spots twice because we had so many kids donate.”  

To be eligible to give blood, students must be 17 years old, or 16 with parental consent. They also have to meet the standard protocols regarding weight, height and other factors. Weldon reported that a couple of students had been turned away for not meeting the requirements.  

Weldon expected to have 44 donors by the end of the day and added, “We would have had more but they just didn’t have enough appointments for them.” To make sure students had a chance to donate, students were scheduled around their core classes.  

COVID has created a blood shortage and according to the students the Tribune spoke to, that was a major incentive for them to donate. Another incentive offered by the Red Cross are free T-shirts and a chance to win one of five $1,000 gift certificates.  

Senior Caleb Stephens was giving blood for the first time. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to be nice and I thought I’d do it,” he said. Stephens plans to continue his giving spirit after graduation as he plans to join the United States Air Force.  

Brandon Huckaby, Payton Bailey and Juan Gonzalez were all waiting for their turn to donate for the first time. Huckaby was motivated to give blood to “give to charity and help people out.” Bailey added, “Maybe we could save someone’s life.” Gonzalez was unable to give blood in the fall but was eligible to give this time.  

Junior Manisha Adams was in line to give blood. She had given blood twice before and said, “This will be my third time. Specifically, now because there is a blood shortage, I think it is more important to do it now more than ever. I actually got my younger brother to give earlier.” Adams’ mother is a health care worker and encouraged Manisha and her brother to donate.  

 Hanceville High School holds two blood drives each year. “Our fall drive was phenomenal. I haven’t held one here that has not been overfilled. I know one drive we held, we were told it was the biggest drive of any of the county schools. I am always super proud of that.”  

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