Students donate to blood drive


Chloe Park/Chronicle

B-POSITIVE: The HW Parents Association’s blood drive was hosted in Chalmers East and West. All Upper School students at least 16 years of age were eligible to donate their blood to the school’s Spring Blood Drive.

Crista Kim and Katelyn Kim

The HW Parents Association (HWPA) hosted a blood drive with the American Red Cross on March 9. Members of the community were invited to donate blood to the school’s Spring Blood Drive, which was held in Chalmers East and West.

HWPA Co-Chair Catherine Huang (Owen ’24) said according to a UCLA representative during the blood drive last year, 77% of their blood supply came from high school students.

Huang said holding blood drives has a large impact and she appreciates how the donors are supporting a greater cause to save lives.

“Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, and every donation can save up to three lives,” Huang said. “I’m in awe of our donors who so generously take time away from their busy schedules to support this worthy cause with their gifts of life.”

HWPA Co-Chair Pansy Yang (Audrey ’23, Alexander ’28, Lucy ’28) said she was moved by the number of people who were willing to donate blood.

“The turnout is always inspiring,” Yang said. “Seeing all the students, faculty, staff and parents come together to generously donate time and blood makes me proud to be part of the Harvard-Westlake community.”

Kait Lazenby ’24, who donated blood for the first time during this event, said giving blood helped them face their fear of needles and simultaneously help others.

“I actually have a fear of needles, so I decided to donate blood to get over that fear,” Lazenby said. “This donation is important to me because it helped me overcome my fear, and in the process, I can assist other people too.”

Red Cross Club Vice President Ofek Levy ’23, who helped organize signups for the drive, said he was amazed by the community’s eagerness for the drive.

“I think the amazing part of our school is that we really didn’t have to motivate people,” Levy said. “Plenty of people came up and asked if they could donate blood. There were plenty of people who told us that they did it last year and were excited to do it again, and we just helped them sign up. I mainly helped people through the process of signing up without difficulties, and it didn’t take much to motivate the community. I think this really speaks to our community.”

Levy said he hopes to include more queer people in future blood drives. The FDA released an updated draft guidance on blood donation eligibility requirements that pertain specifically to gay and bisexual men. Previously, gay and bisexual men were prohibited from donating blood, but the FDA is moving to ease regulations on this policy. While the guidance has not yet been finalized, the American Red Cross announced in a statement that they will continue to provide data to the FDA in support of further progress.

“We really hope in this next blood drive at Harvard-Westlake, we could include both queer students but also queer teachers that each year come back and really do want to donate blood, but can’t due to FDA regulations,” Levy said. “There are always blood deficits so we really hope we could include more people next year.”