Bonded by Blood Drives

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Bonded by Blood Drives

Rocco concentrates in Honors Algebra I. Rocco has received multiple blood transfusions over the past few years.

Rocco concentrates in Honors Algebra I. Rocco has received multiple blood transfusions over the past few years. "I'm just happy to be here," Rocco said.

Rocco concentrates in Honors Algebra I. Rocco has received multiple blood transfusions over the past few years. "I'm just happy to be here," Rocco said.

Rocco concentrates in Honors Algebra I. Rocco has received multiple blood transfusions over the past few years. "I'm just happy to be here," Rocco said.

Gabrielle Stanger

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For some people, it takes more than just blood, sweat, and tears to get what they need to survive–it requires willing blood donors. Ellie Rocco, an honor roll freshman student, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age thirteen. Leukemia, a type of cancer, killed the majority of the blood cells in her body, making it difficult to function. It was a struggle for her to know that if she did not get enough blood, the situation could turn fatal. After approximately two years, Rocco is still receiving treatment to ensure that she is completely cured. Someday, she would like to donate blood in the school’s blood drive. 

In a situation like hers, donated blood made the difference between life and death. During her experience with leukemia, Rocco had two blood transfusions, which she thought were very unusual but beneficial experiences.

“Having a blood transfusion is a weird feeling. It’s like energy is being put into your body. Your eyes get droopy because there is so much blood coming in,” Rocco said.

Because of her two transfusions, Rocco understands the need for donors everywhere and is eternally grateful for anyone who volunteers to donate blood. 

“I know it sounds cheesy, but donating blood can save a life…There are a lot of people with cancer who have to have blood transfusions, and with so many people around the world having transfusions, there is a high demand for blood,” Rocco said.

Cancer is not the only cause for someone to require a blood transfusion. When someone has lost a large amount of blood due to surgery, it is critical that they receive a blood transfusion to acquire the amount they need to survive the surgery process, depending on how long or how dangerous it is. 

Bill Knight, a successful commercial appraiser living in Tulsa, had open-heart surgery when he was thirty-three years old. It lasted ten to twelve hours, and during that time he lost so much blood that it was critical for him to have a blood transfusion. Additionally, his blood type is unusual, so it was important to his survival that people with similar blood were donors.

After his nearly fatal experience with open-heart surgery, Knight would like to thank those who were willing to donate blood to save him. He also wants to urge others to become donors, and aid people who were in situations like his. 

“If it wasn’t for the millions of people who donated blood, I wouldn’t be alive today. So it’s imperative that we have donors to save people’s lives, so someday they will be able to donate blood,” Knight said. 

The school’s National Honor Society holds a blood drive three times a year in the Student Commons. Both Karen Cruice and Eilsha Thach, co-sponsors of NHS, are tasked with organizing them in service to the community. Along with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, the blood drive acquires a pint of blood from each donor. It is estimated that just one pint of blood can save three people’s lives. 

Thach believes it is important to hold blood drives because people will never know if they will someday be in emergency and need blood. She ultimately wants to help people, and donating blood is one of the best ways to do that.

“We hold a drive for Oklahoma Blood Institute to collect blood so they can give it to hospitals to help save people…you never know if you’re going to be in an accident one day or need a blood transfusion. So that’s kinda like our main goal, is to help people,” Thach said. 

Ellie Rocco has been a student here for over three months now and is prospering in many ways. She is in the spring musical, participates in speech competitions, and is on the A Honor Roll list for her grades. As Rocco continues her fast-paced four years here, she and millions upon millions of others are living, speaking, loving proof that one blood donor can change a life and truly make a difference in the world. Because in the end, generosity and compassion are really the only things people need.