CALDWELL, NJ – Towaco resident Jacqueline MacStudy coordinated a blood drive at Mount St. Dominic Academy in Caldwell, as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project. It was the first time a blood drive had been conducted at the school, she said, but hopefully not the last.

MacStudy, who will be a senior at the school in the fall, told TAPinto Montville that April 11 is Dominican Day, a day of service at the school, so it was the opportunity to conduct the drive, which she began putting together last September.

“The students who are 16 and over could donate,” she said. “But the blood drive was also designed to raise awareness of the importance of giving blood. I didn’t know, myself, about all that a student can do at age 16. We saved almost 100 lives with our donations, and we spread the message to high school students that ‘you are an outlet to save lives.’”

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MacStudy said she held an assembly at the school to show how donated blood helps cancer, trauma, organ donor and sickle cell anemia patients.

“It is also really important this year because the fires in California and the snowstorms caused a lot of blood to get lost this spring,” she said. “So there is a blood shortage. It can’t be manufactured – it has to be donated.”

MacStudy said that Mount St. Dominic is a small school of only about 250 students and she was happy that the six-hour blood drive helped so many people. She said she grew up in a family of medicine – her mom is a physician – and she knew that Livingston and Parsippany High Schools had conducted blood drives, which gave her the idea for her Gold Award.

“I knew about the Red Cross and my dad is a huge donor,” she said.

MacStudy met with Dean Marissa Muoio and Head of School Sister Fran Sullivan, plus Red Cross Account Manager Debra Wolfe to coordinate the event. Wolfe said that setting up a blood drive involves vetting the space for appropriateness plus setting up a goal number of donors. The Red Cross blood donation system is “self-sufficient” she said, but the sponsor needs to advertise and attract the donors, she said, which was Jacqueline’s job to obtain, plus Wolfe trained her in answering questions. She called MacStudy the “sole point person.”

“Jacqueline was great – she was really engaged and asked all the right questions,” Wolfe said. “She was right on the ball and reached out if she had questions. She was wonderful to work with.”

MacStudy said the pre-planning process took a lot of time and included putting stickers on foods in the cafeteria to denote those that are iron-rich, sending emails to parents, teachers, alumni and prospective students to encourage them to come to the event.

“We had about 31 donors, which can help about 93 people,” MacStudy said. “The donors were students, parents, faculty, families of students, and Girl Scouts.”

Muoio was impressed with MacStudy’s professional conduct throughout the process of the blood drive.

“Jackie was phenomenal,” she said. “She handled the whole thing and took total responsibility. She had full contact with the Red Cross and [our administration].  She handled the truck set-up, and the coordination of the volunteers, students and staff members.”

Muoio is looking forward to having the event in future years.

“A great piece was how she went over the event with two other students,” Muoio said. “Jackie will be with us for another year, but the event can continue because she had these students with her and even after she graduates, the blood drive can go on.”

MacStudy said that she has been a Girl Scout for 12 years. Her Bronze Award involved working with the Montville Township Animal Shelter. She has submitted her Gold Award paperwork and is waiting to hear back from council.

In the meantime, the successful blood drive helped many.

“Jacqueline had a huge impact for local hospitals and patients,” Wolfe said.

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