Canton High School hosts Red Cross blood drive


Canton High School’s National Honor Society students do their part to help stop blood shortage in the U.S. National Cancer Institute/Unsplash

LAYLA FOLEY, staff writer

The Canton High School National Honor Society partnered with the Red Cross to host a blood drive at the school on Friday, March 18. Due to the critical blood shortage that hospitals are facing right now, Canton High School school wanted to do its part to contribute to the health and safety of many people. 

Although there is a shortage of blood, the Food and Drug Administration has set restrictions for who is allowed to donate blood.  As a way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, gay men who have participated in sexual activity within the last three months are not allowed to donate their blood. Both Canton High School staff and the Red Cross acknowledge that these restrictions have caused issues within the LGBTQ+ community as there are questions about discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Leigh Connole, an English teacher and National Honor Society advisor at Canton High School, recognizes the issue with the preventions regarding blood donation. I realize this policy makes many teenagers and adults conflicted because they want to support their friends’/peers’ rights but also want to help out others in need of donations,” said Mrs. Connole.

Members of Congress have been pushing to repeal the discriminatory blood donation practices. Senator Tammy Baldwin as well as many other senators are writing letters to the FDA to convince them to lift the blood donation requirements.  

In an article published by WebMD Health News, Annie Klingenberg highlights the new efforts being made to at least temporarily stop the restrictions regarding gay men donating blood. “While allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood without a time deferral would not solve the blood shortage crisis right away, LGBTQ+ advocates say it would, at a minimum, increase the amount of blood available,” according to WebMD.

The Red Cross is in need of blood donations. According to an article published by Deseret News about the blood shortage, the Red Cross has had “less than a one-day supply” of blood. The pandemic is a major factor in the blood shortage due to blood drive cancellations and limited staff members. 

Mrs. Connole encourages blood donation for anyone eligible to do so. “It’s important to donate blood for those who specifically are in need of transfusions, or who get in tragic accidents, etc,” said Connole. Because of the pandemic, hospitals have been struggling to maintain their blood supply, and are looking for people to donate and help support those in need.