Burke Halloween blood drive addresses critical shortage

Goshen. Student donors conquer first-time jitters to help save lives in the Hudson Valley. School nurse Kathleen Kish says, "Once they start donating in high school, they donate for life."

Goshen /
01 Nov 2019 | 11:22

This year’s Halloween blood drive at John S. Burke Catholic High School had the seasonally appropriate theme of “Starve a vampire, give blood."

But on a serious note, organizers and students alike are aware that each and every donated pint is needed, since the Hudson Valley’s blood supply is currently at a critically low level.

“It’s even more important than usual because there’s a major blood shortage,” said student co-captain Elizabeth Magnussen.

Approximately 70 students and community members gave the gift of life at the blood drive sponsored by the New York Blood Center and held in the school gym on Oct. 29.

“Helping people is nice, and I’m definitely happy with the turnout,” said student co-captain Carsyn Waldman.

Many of the students participating were giving blood for the first time ever.

“Once they start donating in high school, they donate for life,” said Burke Catholic nurse and blood drive organizer Kathleen Kish.

Senior Batuhan Isik was among the first-time donors.

“I have a rare blood type, so I thought ‘why not?,’ since I’m helping somebody out,” Batuhan explained.

Some student blood donors were dressed in Halloween costumes. Even Burke Catholic’s emotional support dog, Logan, was dressed -- as the Cowardly Lion.

This was the second time senior Miranda Renelt, who was dressed as an astronaut, has given blood. Even so, she was nervous.

“It’s nerve-wracking since I’m afraid of needles, but when they said there was a shortage I wanted to help,” Miranda said. “My body keeps making blood, and other people really need it.”

Burke Catholic has been honored numerous times for its exceptional level of student participation by the New York Blood Center.

African American and Latino/Hispanic blood donors needed
Did you know there is a greater prevalence of type O blood in African American and Hispanic/Latino populations?
Blood donations from African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos can treat a broader cross-section of patients than can blood donations from Caucasians.
The Hispanic/Latino population is increasing at a rate three times the national average for all other ethnic groups. Hispanic blood donors are important in maintaining the overall volume of blood in the U.S. system.
Certain African American and Hispanic/Latino patients, including those who have rare blood types or medical conditions necessitating multiple blood transfusions, like sickle cell disease, require very closely matched blood products, which often can be found only in donors with the same racial or ethnic heritage.
Source: New York Blood Center: nybloodcenter.org
“It’s nerve-wracking since I’m afraid of needles, but when they said there was a shortage I wanted to help,. My body keeps making blood, and other people really need it.” --Miranda Renelt