An Early Start at Saving Lives

By Communications and Marketing Intern, Katie Han

High schools and colleges that partner with the American Red Cross to host blood drives gain extreme benefits such as rallying the school around a cause that saves millions of lives each year, demonstrating leadership, and promoting teamwork. Diamond Bar High School is one Los Angeles area school that has been hosting blood drives regularly, for about 3 years. And each year, it seems more and more students turn up to donate blood in hopes of helping to save more and more lives.

Besides getting great snacks and an excuse to miss class, donating blood with the American Red Cross is an amazing first step toward making a difference within the community — especially for a teenager! Plus, the students who donate blood at Diamond Bar are definitely impacting those around them, and motivating others to seize whatever opportunity possible to give back to their community. Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Dominick Villaverde, a regular blood donor and member of the Diamond Bar High School Class of 2017.

LA Talks: What motivated you to donate blood with the Red Cross?

Dominick Villaverde: One of my friends who was an upperclassman would always donate blood [at the Diamond Bar High School Blood Drives] and tell me about it, so I thought it would be super cool to donate when I was old enough. After the first time, it was definitely something I wanted to keep doing.

LA Talks: How was your overall experience during your blood donation? 

Dominick Villaverde: My overall donation experience was great! I think I donated at least 5 or so times in high school, and every single time I did the Red Cross volunteers were so nice. At first I was scared, because I mean, it’s a needle going into your arm. The volunteers reassured me that everything would be okay, so that was cool and very helpful.

LA Talks: What was the most memorable thing that occurred while donating blood?

Dominick Villaverde: For me, something that happened after I donated was actually the most memorable. I got a postcard from the Red Cross telling me where my blood went! It was super cool knowing that I was helping people I hadn’t ever met before. That itself is why I continue to donate. Now, every time I donate blood is a memorable occasion.

LA Talks: Since your donation, have you advocated donating blood, or talked to your friends about it?

Dominick Villaverde: Ever since the first time I donated blood I tell all my friends to go do it if they can, because people should always take opportunities to help others. Plus, the satisfaction that comes from helping those in need is great! After advocating, most of them have actually listened, and we’ve even gone and donated blood together, which is so cool.

LA Talks: Do you believe that participating in Red Cross Blood Drives while you were in High School influenced your overall desire to give back to your community?

Dominick Villaverde: I definitely believe donating blood helps the community and it has also helped me gain a stronger desire to give back. Having O positive blood means my blood can be used for anyone who needs it, and I know it is always going to a great cause to help others in need. Because of that, I now look for other ways that I can give back too.

Almost 20 percent of the millions of Red Cross blood donations made each year come from high school and college blood drives. To learn how you can host a Red Cross blood drive on your campus, visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/students/host-blood-drive !

Katie Han will be a senior at Diamond Bar High School. She enjoys making YouTube videos about places she visits and plays the French Horn in her school’s band! This is Katie’s first year interning with the American Red Cross.   

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