SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – As a national blood shortage continues, SPHS students tried to do their part last Friday when the Middle School PTO hosted its annual blood bank for the eighth time.

Over 100 students, teachers, and community members volunteered to give blood, with the New York / New Jersey Blood Bank collecting 85 pints of whole blood that day.

In addition to the whole blood donations, a dozen people donated through a machine that separates red blood cells from the others and returns the rest into the bloodstream. 

Sign Up for E-News

Known as Alyx, the machine uses a technology called apheresis.  Rather than collecting the blood directly into a blood bag, the donor’s blood first flows into the Alyx machine, which separates the blood’s components.

After separation, red blood cells are collected in a blood bag, and the remaining components are returned to the donor. The donor also receives a small amount of sterile saline fluid to make up for the blood volume loss. The donation takes about twice as long as a whole blood donation (about 20-25 minutes).

Despite the national blood shortage caused by the rugged winter weather across the country, neither donors nor volunteers were in short supply .  In addition to donating blood, students from the student council and the high school’s peer leadership group acted as “nurses,” helping to collect forms and escorting donors to tables to eat after donating.  And even though they are too young to donate, the Girl Scouts from Troop #65883 helped out too, making red bracelets and red-ribbon pins for those who took part, as well as handing out snacks.