172 units collected at life-saving YHS blood drive

More than 200 people show up to give at student-led effort

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Yukon High School Leadership sophomore Jillian Pickering donates blood during a student-organized blood drive Dec. 10 inside the YHS auxiliary gym, 1777 S Yukon Parkway. Behind Pickering are fellow YHS students, from left, Isabel Fish, Ashlynn Sanderson, Charleigh Ingram, and Emelyn Jarvis. Some 217 people – both students and adults – showed up to donate and 172 usable units were collected. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Some 217 people showed up at Yukon High School to give what they could at the first of two student-organized blood drives that return in 2021-22 after being canceled last year.

The YHS Leadership Class sponsored the fall blood drive on Friday, Dec. 10 in the school’s auxiliary gym, 1777 S Yukon Parkway. Organizers surpassed their goal of 155 usable units by collecting 172 units for the Oklahoma Blood Institute.

Many YHS students were first-time blood donors.

“We’ve done very, very well,” OBI’s Ron Black said. “The students here at Yukon High School are unlike those at any other school. They are top-notch.

“And the people from the Yukon community really support this blood drive. Some students brought their parents and come and donate.”

Thirty percent of OBI’s blood supply comes from educational institutions including high schools and colleges.

“Yukon High School has been the benchmark for other high schools in the state,” Black said.

These ever-popular student-led blood drives are back in Yukon during this school year. The last time YHS hosted a full blood drive was fall 2019 before the COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020 (there was one last year for teachers and staff).

In previous years, YHS Leadership and Student Council would host three blood drives annually.

Several times, Yukon won an annual OBI competition to see which high school in its region – all of Oklahoma and parts of Texas and Arkansas – had the highest blood donations.

YHS Leadership/Student Council advisor Darryl Andrews, who has coordinated these blood drives since the early 1990s, said Yukon previously would average 180 to 200 usable units.

“Other schools in other markets, where they do blood drives with OBI, look at what Mr. Andrews has done with these students as ‘the model’,” Black said.

All donors Dec. 10 received Winter Donor T-shirts, Whataburger coupons and free COVID antibody tests.

Kenton Cox, a Yukon High School Student Council sophomore, gives to the cause at a Dec. 10th blood drive in the YHS auxiliary gym. The effort supported the Oklahoma Blood Institute with 172 usable units collected. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
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PERSONAL STORY

OBI’s Black was saved by blood drive donors after undergoing a liver transplant operation in 2018.

“It went really poorly, and I ended up taking 59 units of blood,” he shared.

Helping save his life was Mason O’Hara, who donated blood on his 16th birthday. It was the first time this YHS student ever gave blood.

“Yukon High School is one of my accounts, and I got to meet Mason and his family,” said Black, a former radio/television host and political analyst who came to work for OBI in October 2018.

Yukon “always come through” at these blood drives, he added.

“The Yukon High School Millers are champions at OBI,” Black noted. “The school district has supported this for a number of years.”

He commended Yukon Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth for allowing YHS to host the fall blood drive. His wife Julie is a blood donor.

“We like to help students start young creating that community service spirit,” Black said. “By teaching them that donating blood saves lives, then they will become what we call ‘identity’ donors for the rest of their life.”

The YHS Student Council will plan and present a spring blood drive next March at the high school campus.

Black predicted that Yukon will “come close to setting records again” this year in blood units collected.

“Thank you, Yukon for your generosity and willingness to save lives,” he said. “There are patients in our hospitals right now who will receive the blood that’s donated today.

“It’s an opportunity literally touch another person’s life. Every blood donation can impact up to three lives.”

Oklahoma Blood Institute personnel help Yukon High School students donate during the YHS Leadership’s fall blood drive Dec. 10 on the YHS campus, 1777 S Parkway. YHS Student Council members will present a spring blood drive next March to support OBI. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
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