Kaylee Huynh, left, and Amrit Hundal are encouraging peers at Alberni District Secondary School to donate blood at a Canadian Blood Services clinic, Jan. 14-16. (MIKE YOUDS/Special to the News)

Kaylee Huynh, left, and Amrit Hundal are encouraging peers at Alberni District Secondary School to donate blood at a Canadian Blood Services clinic, Jan. 14-16. (MIKE YOUDS/Special to the News)

Port Alberni high school students recruiting younger blood donors

Students from ADSS educating peers about myths, facts of blood donation


Special to the News

A blood donor clinic at the Italian Hall later this month may have more high school students lining up to do their part for the greater good.

That’s what Kaylee Huynh and Amrit Hundal hope to see after a month of promotional outreach at ADSS. Enrolled in Anne Ostwald’s social justice class, the two Grade 12 students have been spreading awareness among their peers.

“We’d never heard that you could donate blood in town,” Huynh said as the pair worked at an information table in the school’s atrium before Christmas, trying to attract new donors.

Canadian Blood Services offers regular blood donor clinics in Port Alberni every 12 weeks or about four times a year, said Gayle Voyer, the agency’s territorial manager. The next clinic is scheduled for Jan. 14-16, 3-7 p.m.

A key point made by the student advocates is the age of eligibility for giving blood. Many of their peers seemed unaware that they become eligible at age 17 to donate blood providing they meet height and weight requirements.

“We’ve found that people are surprised that they are able to donate,” Huynh said.

The blood supply has to be continually renewed and there is a constant demand due to emergencies such as car accidents, Hundal said.

“If you’re able to generate blood and give it to somebody, I don’t see why not.”

Voyer has been collaborating with the students, providing them with information and materials such as brochures to spread the word. They’ve so far set up two recruitment booths and plan to return to the ADSS foyer in January to do another. Naturally, once they’ve passed an eligibility quiz, new donors have questions.

“It just feels like a little mosquito bite,” Hundal assures them.

The chief criterion for such projects in Ostwald’s class is that they benefit the community in some way. Hundal and Huynh will be assessed on the outcome.

“It’s basically follow-through and planning,” Hundal said. “Did we meet our goals?”

Voyer said there are multiple criteria that determine blood donor eligibility and that these conditions are continually changing. She encourages donors to pre-screen themselves online by taking the quiz at blood.ca before they go to donate. It’s also best to make an appointment before visiting a clinic, she said. Donors can do that at blood.ca or through GiveBlood, the app available for free from Canadian Blood Services.

One among every two Canadians is an eligible donor, Voyer noted. Despite that, only one in 60 Canadians gives blood, representing about four percent of the population.

“The key to that is really giving people the right information,” she said. “There is always new information. You might be surprised to find that you actually are now eligible.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

On Aug. 26, 1947, a fire sparked in the lumber piles between Alberni Pacific Division sawmill and Alberni Plywood (located where Canal Waterfront Park is now). What resulted was a huge fire on Assembly Wharf One, where several buildings were gutted and stacks of lumber were burned. This photo is one of 24,000 contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives, at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN07386 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: 1947 fire destroys Port Alberni wharf

Take a peek into the Alberni Valley’s history with the Alberni Valley Museum

Artist Jim Holyoak’s installation “Quagmire.” Holyoak will be the first speaker for the Artist Talk Online Winter 2021 series. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College Artist Talk goes online for winter 2021

The series invites contemporary Canadian artists to speak about their professional practice

City of Port Alberni, ACRD prepare for compost collection in 2021

Roadside pickup is expected to begin in the City of Port Alberni in June 2021

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Most Read