Friday, April 17, 2020

WHS senior learns from Capstone Project that giving blood is safe during the COVID-19

Grace Soares
By Lanet Hane, Director of Community Connections

The doors of our schools may be locked, but our students are still learning and growing in powerful ways; they are also finding meaningful methods to give back to the community.

Grace Soares, a Windham High School senior, is using this time to continue encouraging people to give blood. She says “the need is incredibly high right now, particularly because drives have been cancelled and fewer people are willing to come out to donation centers given everything going on in the country. Maine’s donations are down, but the need isn’t.”

Grace chose to do her Senior Capstone Project on the Red Cross and was proactive enough in her shadowing and interviewing to complete most of her project before schools shut their doors and people were forced inside.

Grace has been volunteering with the Red Cross since she was 16 and saw the Senior Project as a chance to learn more about blood and the blood giving process overall. She jumped through the necessary hoops with Red Cross at the corporate level and gained permission to go beyond the normal scope of her volunteer work to conduct interviews as well.

The interviews with volunteers were one of the most meaningful parts of the project for Grace. They were able to speak to a number of common questions asked from people who are considering donation, including how safe it is in the middle of our pandemic; “Giving blood is a very safe process and the centers do a fantastic job of ensuring the comfort and safety of anyone generous enough to give. If you are healthy and looking for a way to support our community, giving blood is such a need!”

More information about giving blood is available at
A few of the common questions asked about giving blood:

Does it hurt? Volunteers say not really; the actual portion of giving blood is about 5 minutes and
fairly painless.

How long does it take? About 45 minutes for whole blood, closer to two hours for power reds. If you want to speed up the process, you can get the Red Cross Rapid Pass app on your phone that allows you to read all the paperwork beforehand.

What if I have COVID-19 and don’t know it yet? Can I pass it on? No. While a number of screenings for all sorts of things are done at the site, all blood collected goes through additional screenings after collection.

How can I make sure it goes well? Volunteers say to have a snack before you go, and drink plenty of water the night before and right before you donate blood as this helps ensure you have big veins.

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