La Quinta High School’s Medical Health Academy (MHA) plays an integral part in saving the lives of our community members. Since the start of the school year in 2019, the academy has coordinated and run 20 successful blood drives in partnership with LifeStream Blood Bank. 

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Since then, 928 students, faculty and parents registered to give blood. A total of 818 pints of blood have been collected, and a total of 437 of those giving blood were first time donors. 

Through this effort, MHA students have touched the lives of up to 2,454 people in need of the lifesaving benefits of blood. Their dedication, collaboration and leadership skills are serving our community’s needs through raising awareness, encouraging community engagement and saving lives. 

For these blood drives, the role of the academy is primarily to recruit students, staff and family members. The process requires the blood drive leaders to organize a two-week long sign up during lunch hour. They encourage people to participate in a meaningful activity that directly contributes to the well-being of others. They raise awareness about the importance of blood donation and the need for a consistent blood supply. They educate people about the impact of their donations and help dispel myths or misconceptions about the donation process.

On the morning of the blood drive, students assist with setting up tables, chairs, recovery areas and check in locations, and place signs around campus. LifeStream staff has the tedious task of setting up the portable blood drawing chairs and equipment. 

The day begins at 8 am when the first of many donors arrive at their assigned time. They are greeted by our students, checked in and provided with a health survey to assist the staff in determining eligibility to donate. The impressive time management skills of the staff ensure efficiency and maximize the number of donors. 

Once participants have donated, it is the responsibility of the MHA student to be sure they have eaten, rested and feel well enough to return home or to the classroom. There have been many episodes of donors feeling faint, dizzy or nauseas which is common with donating. The students always act quickly, professionally and with empathy to ensure these generous donors are cared for appropriately.

La Quinta High School’s Medical Health Academy is, and will remain, committed to serving the residents of the Coachella Valley and beyond by providing them with a constant supply of life saving blood and plasma.

Editorial by Melissa Moore, LQHS MHA Coordinator. For more information on our valley Medical Health Academies and their contributions, contact Kim McNulty with OneFuture Coachella Valley, [email protected].

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