School blood donations surpass expectations

SAN BENITO — Greyhounds know how to donate.

Students in the San Benito High School medical program collected 161 units of blood during their annual blood drive earlier this month.

This surpassed the students’ initial goal of 142 units, which led them to be ranked number one in Cameron County in donating blood.

Students operated under the direction of Dr. Anabell De Leon and Aaron Cantu, who both work at the high school.

De Leon is a Health Science teacher and the medical assisting program coordinator and the advisor of Health Occupations Students of America, better known as HOSA.

She has been in charge of the blood drive since 2012 and conducts at least three blood drives a year.

Cantu is head of the CNA program and he and his students started helping De Leon last year by monitoring students donating.

Last year, the program collected 191 units of blood at the school in one single drive.

This marked a record and led to the school receiving a banner from United Blood Services.

De Leon said this year was more challenging because they didn’t have the “double reds” which count as double units. Collection sites have the ability to collect two units of red blood cells from a single donor who meets all eligibility requirements.

“Because the supplies needed for that procedure come from Puerto Rico and due to Hurricane Irma, they didn’t have the supplies needed to do doubles, so we did only single units,” De Leon said.

De Leon said United Blood Services didn’t expect them to reach their goal due to the situation.

“I feel immensely proud for all the students that made all this possible,” De Leon said, “from the ones who recruited to those who ran it and donated.”

De Leon said each year United Blood Services increases the goal depending on how previous blood drives performed.

Blood donor qualifications

• Be at least 18 years old, 16 with parental permission

• Weigh at least 110 pounds

• General good health

• Have valid identification