Schools

Nyssa HOSA students create video to raise awareness about blood shortage

The Nyssa chapter of HOSA-Future Health Professionals, a program that prepares students for health care careers, has produced a video to raise awareness about a nationwide blood shortage. 

In a three-minute video posted to Facebook and other social media platforms featuring the song “Stand By Me,” Nyssa staff, students and others from the community are featured to show the diversity of blood donors. 

Students and staff use every language spoken in Nyssa – English, American Sign Language, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Romanian, French and Arabic. They say: “Your blood donation could save my life.” 

Aundra DeWitt, Nyssa HOSA chapter adviser and school nurse, said a diverse blood supply is a priority. Diverse blood donors may be uniquely able to help patients with different illnesses or inherited diseases – for example, those with sickle cell anemia.

According to the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation of Oregon, diversity among blood donors is critical because red blood cells carry markers that determine blood type, and certain blood types are unique to specific racial and ethnic groups.

The organization points out that sickle cell disease affects as many as 100,000 people in the U.S. More than 90% of those individuals are of African descent.

In the video, students said patients who receive blood from a donor of the same race or ethnicity have the best possible outcomes. By donating blood, people can make an “impactful difference,” according to the video. 

DeWitt said the video has been submitted for an international competition with the Red Cross and HOSA. If the judges select it, the Red Cross will use it to help spread awareness and encourage blood donations. 

All of the students participated in the making of the video, according to DeWitt. She said the students worked together, did the research, wrote the script and did all of the editing work for the content. She said the students worked on producing the content with a videographer with Red Cross over the last few months.

Additionally, DeWitt said, the students would also qualify for scholarships through HOSA and the Red Cross should judges at the international HOSA competition in late June select the video. 

The need for blood donations is dire in the U.S. In January, the Red Cross announced that it faces a nationwide emergency blood shortagethe worst in 20 years

“One of the most distressing situations for a doctor is to have a hospital full of patients and an empty refrigerator without any blood products,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the Red Cross, the nation’s largest blood supplier. “Blood is only available thanks to the generosity of those who roll up a sleeve to donate.”

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