KO blood drive saves lives


On Monday, Feb. 25, KO hosted the Warren Baird Memorial Blood Drive, where volunteers from the community came and donated blood to save lives in Soby Gym from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Dean of Students William Gilyard said that the blood drive was named after Warren Baird, who was, among other things, the chair of the English department and the advisor for the KO News. Mr. Gilyard said that Mr. Baird was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder and passed away in 2000. “This annual event is in remembrance of Warren Baird and honors all the contributions he made to KO,” Mr. Gilyard said.

Mr. Gilyard said that students volunteered to be chairs and that two senior chairs and two junior chairs are randomly selected. He said that this year’s junior chairs—Ethan Brown and Cai Kuivila—were picked on Friday, Feb. 8.

Mr. Gilyard said that the blood drive also gives people outside of the KO community a platform to donate blood. “KO is hosting the blood drive, but it is not restricted to KO,” Mr. Gilyard said. “In fact, most of the donors are from the outer community because you have to be more than 17 to donate blood.”

Mr. Gilyard explained that the junior and senior chairs and other KO volunteers helped to organize the event.

Senior chair Amy Mistri said that her obligations as a chair were to make announcements during the assemblies and get sign-ups for time slots during lunch periods, which usually starts three weeks before the event. She also handed out papers to assist the professionals from the American Red Cross in making sure that all the donors fit their requirements on the day of the blood drive.

Senior Emma Kate Johansen, the other chair, added that the chairs also met with the Red Cross representative, Daniel Huntington, two times before the event to plan the propaganda strategies and ways to make it most effective.

Mr. Gilyard said that one pint of blood has the potential to save three people’s lives. He also mentioned that the school provides snacks such as power bars, fruit, and water for the donors after they donate blood, which the chairs help to distribute.

“I think this event is meaningful as it enables people to help save lives,” Mr. Gilyard said. “And even though people may not realize how important it is to donate blood, it really does make a difference and it truly embodies KO’s motto of caring beyond self.”

Many students agreed with Mr. Gilyard and decided to donate. “I felt that it was my moral duty to give some blood,” senior Benjamin Small said. “There are a lot of people that need blood, and one person’s donation could be the difference between life and death. So, I think it is important, if you are able to, to donate blood. The experience was a little nerve racking, but it was fine once they started. I was mostly worried about feeling light-headed afterwards, but that didn’t end up being a problem.”

Embodying  the same selflessness,  Amy said that she became involved in being a chair her junior year, after hearing about it during her freshman and sophomore year. “The best thing about it is being involved and trying to help out as much as I can,” Amy said, “and it is really rewarding when you read stories about how people have been helped by pints of blood.”

Emma Kate expressed similar sentiments. “My mom often donates to the Red Cross, and though I wasn’t eligible, I wanted to help,” Emma Kate said. “That’s why I signed up to be a chair. And it has been a great experience: it’s always nice to see how many people supported the good cause and I am excited to do that again.”