- Megan Yi
Pathway Bloodworks: Student Led Advocation for Blood Donation
Blood donation is extremely vital and needed in all healthcare facilities, and saves millions of lives each year. Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S needs blood and or platelets (redcrossblood.org). Blood donation is necessary in many cases, from emergency transfusions in a hospital, to regular transfusions for people with conditions such as thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Because blood can only be stored for a limited time before use, there is a constant need for a regular blood supply. However, less than 38% of the population is eligible to donate blood, therefore it is even more imperative that those are eligible to donate do so.
The Bloodworks Project at Pathway is a student-led initiative that addresses this very issue. They are a student-led group whose purpose is to educate the community about the process of donating blood, along with its benefits. The ultimate goal of the project is to recruit more blood donors through Bloodworks Northwest. Blood donation is extremely vital, and the members of the Bloodworks Project are truly passionate about spreading this message. As stated by project leader Richard Yang, “blood donation is really important because of its ability to save lives.”
Project leader Richard Yang also notes how important it is for members of minority groups to donate blood. He addresses that, “due to a lack of blood donation during COVID-19 among minority groups and the youth, our project is motivated to address these concerns and address the low supply of blood donation.” Blood can be racially or ethnically specific, so having an ample supply of blood for all ethnicities can be crucial in saving the lives of patients. Notably, the Asian population tends to under donate. The Asian community is very close to members of Pathway, as many of our members are of Asian descent, or attend school with Asian students. Therefore it is even more important to address the lack of under donation within the Asian community, and by promoting our local community of the greater Seattle area to donate, it would be immensely beneficial to those who need blood.
Pathway Bloodworks have made several strides and accomplishments so far. They have two blood drives, and are currently in cooperation for a blood drive with Seattle ARK. They have also been featured on a few news outlets and magazines. They have organized two webinars that have educated and promoted the cause of blood donation. Pathway Bloodworks emphasizes educating students, as they have made a sustained effort to share their message to more than twenty clubs in various high schools in the greater Seattle area. Through their blood drives and other promotions, they have gotten more than forty donors, and have reached out to more than four thousand people.
There are various ways to personally get involved in aiding the cause for blood donation. Firstly, Pathway Bloodworks offers blood drives in which they promote donating blood. This is a very direct way to contribute, and Pathway Bloodworks offers volunteer hours for those who donate. In the case that someone is not able to donate due to personal/medical reasons, they can still contribute to the cause of blood donation through advocation. This can be done by spreading the message of blood donation to friends and peers, along with encouraging others who are eligible to donate to do so.
In the near future, Pathway Bloodworks hopes to, “continue our outreach among our community through clubs, news, organizations, and events.” They also have stated to be in the works for a new major project which would be to create a blood donation advocacy toolkit in cooperation with some international organizations. The future looks bright for Pathway Bloodworks, and the project will certainly continue to spread much-needed awareness regarding blood donation throughout our community.
Written By: Megan Yi