Best Big Blood Drive in Illinois


Catrina Sanfilippo, Reporter

In an attempt to once again break state records for participation and collection, Leyden will host the first of its two annual blood drives, on December 4, 2014. Counselor and event organizer Mr. Bill Mitchell has brought in a record breaking 340 students in past blood drives.

One out of three people are rejected for donating blood because they have low iron, do not weigh enough, or have been to a certain country. Somehow, Leyden still has managed to claim the title as, “Best High School Blood Drive In Illinois.” This all falls back on the students who come to donate. Mr. Mitchell shared, “Our blood drives are so successful because our students have big hearts. Many of students come from families where they take care of their little sisters and brothers, their parents, and their grandparents. They are generous and feel good helping others even when it comes to the people whose lives they will save and whose faces they will never know.”

This past success does create some pressure on Mr. Mitchell to do better each year.  Even though we have no competition from any other high school, Mitchell wants to increase the amount of people who  donate each year. Mr. Mitchell said, “I wouldn’t say there is any outside pressure. But I definitely put pressure on myself to make each experience better than the previous time: to make donors more comfortable, to make the process flow more smoothly, to get more donors to save more lives. Let’s put this into perspective, we are saving lives here. This isn’t about trophies, titles or news articles. This is about saving someone’s life when the unspeakable happens. It is about giving a mother one more day with her child.  It is about giving a child one more day to know their grandmother’s love. It is about keeping the light in someone’s life for as long as we can before they are taken away. What goal could be more noble?”

In order for the blood to be sent out quickly, there is someone who drives a truck back and forth from Leyden to the Life Source headquarters. There are so many people in need of blood that as soon as the blood reaches the labs, it gets tested, separated into different blood products, and sent out to patients by the end of the weekend.

Mr. Mitchell motivates kids to do the blood drive only during lunch periods and claims to always get a great turn out. “I motivate kids to donate simply by approaching them with respect and a sense of humor. Students are sitting with their friends at the lunch table and like to donate with their friends.  Usually when one asks for an application, the other four or five friends sitting with them will ask for one, too.  It’s more fun to donate with a buddy,” Mitchell added.