From November 9th to 20th, Sequoyah School sponsored a blood drive at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena; the event was hosted by 12th grader Dominik Giapis. Giapis started this blood drive as a part of his Social Innovation Program (SIP) Impact Project, in which, as per the SIP website, students start a “changemaking initiative of their imagining.” This was a critical year to Dominik’s project because of the immense blood shortage across the United States due to COVID-19.
Giapis stated that the donation of blood is crucial because “many people require blood in order to survive.” He also noted that “many complex medical and surgical procedures…require large amounts of blood to be donated.” Such situations where donated blood is used include people with severe trauma (major cuts, gunshot wounds, etc.), women with complications during pregnancy (such as ectopic pregnancies and hemorrhage before, during, or after childbirth), and children with severe anemia often resulting from malaria or malnutrition. Giapis said that these incidents are where “donated blood goes and saves countless lives.”
Sequoyah community members participated in the blood drive, as well as many people outside the Sequoyah community. Sequoyah members who participated included high school senior Audrey Bluestone. Bluestone wanted to support Dominik’s SIP project and said that “it wasn’t something [she] would have chosen to do on [her] own.” But after doing it, she “felt really good to know that with one pint [of donated blood] they are able to help three people.” Bluestone went with Claire Donahue to the blood drive and noted that the two “actually might do it again later on.” Donahue said that “it was a really good experience” and although her arm was a little sore afterwards, it “was worth it!”
Some of the other students that donated blood included senior Julian Suh-Toma and junior Jackson Grant. Suh-Toma reflected on the experience and said it was “definitely less daunting than what [he] imagined. It really only entailed a couple questions about [his] health and a 10-minute draw on a comfy chair.” Grant mentioned how previously, he wasn’t sure how he felt about giving blood, but as he got older, he realized that “a small poke for [him] could be the difference between whether someone else lives or not.” He expanded by saying that “[he] felt safe, and absolutely would do it again.”
Giapis said the importance of donating blood “hit [him] while [he] was touring the Los Angeles County Hospital.” He continued by saying he was “told of stories about organ recipients who thanked their organ donors after they recovered from surgery.” After this experience, Giapis developed a “comprehensive and empathetic understanding for the importance of donating blood.”