Students save lives

Yukon High School tops blood donations in three-state region

Blood drives can help people such as Piedmont’s Jessicia Zeleke, who was diagnosed with cancer, Oklahoma Blood Institute officials said. (Photo provided)

By Mindy Ragan Wood
Staff Writer

Students at Yukon High School take their community’s need for blood seriously and soon will be rewarded for their dedication to saving lives.

Oklahoma Blood Institute’s (OBI) Yukon coordinator Jordan Post said the school will receive an award after fall classes resume.

“They collected 600 units of blood and that’s huge,” she said. “We have centers in Arkansas and Texas and they were listed as a Class 6A. They won 6A and more than any high school in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. We haven’t given out their award because it (the winner) was determined after school let out for the summer. We’re going to try to do a presentation this fall.”

Post said one unit of blood can save up to three lives, but that is a drop in the bucket compared to the need in hospitals across the state.

OBI events manager Billy Hendrix said the organization must collect blood from 1,200 donors per day to supply hospitals.

“That’s why we are always having blood drives throughout our system every day statewide. The OBI, especially in the (Oklahoma City) metro area, we are the sole provider for 96 percent of the hospitals, 160 (hospitals) total and that’s why it’s important to donate,” he said.

Post said the Yukon community has been responsive to blood drives, but especially the high school.

“The high school does really well. They have a drive in the fall, at the beginning of December and one in the spring in March or April. We do a big rivalry between Yukon and Mustang,” Post said.

Superintendents at both districts will send out a message to parents and staff to support the drive as a contest against the rival school. Those are not the only organizations to spar off for the good cause. The Boots and Badges is held between the Yukon police department and fire department.

Approximately 250,000 people donate in the Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas region with around 150,000 of them in Oklahoma. In Yukon, at least 19 businesses and organizations host blood drives including one held Saturday, July 1 at the Yukon Masonic Lodge. Post said she hopes to have one quarterly at 10 West Main in addition to the others throughout the year in the community.

The blood goes a long way to save lives across the state. All the units of blood are accepted by Oklahoma hospitals and ambulance technicians, Hendrix said.

The biggest demand for a blood type is O-Negative which accounts for seven percent of the U.S. population.

“O-Negative is our most generally needed blood type because it’s the universal blood type,” Hendrix said. “It can be used on anyone no matter what their blood type is. All of our ambulances and ER’s keep O-Negative on hand for that reason.”

The demand for blood follows trends during the year and summer is a busy season.

“We do focus a lot of our need in the summer months when school is out and at holidays because of accidents and medical events,” Hendrix said. “We always tell people it’s not the people who donate blood when something happens, but it’s the people who donate blood every day because it’s blood on the shelves ready to go when it’s needed.”