Grade 12 students Stefanie Robb and Kate Straforelli from Brookswood Secondary, and Mya Ellis and Cassie Renaud from Langley Secondary schools organize a community blood drive on Dec. 17, 2020 at Church in the Valley. (Canada Blood Services/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Grade 12 students Stefanie Robb and Kate Straforelli from Brookswood Secondary, and Mya Ellis and Cassie Renaud from Langley Secondary schools organize a community blood drive on Dec. 17, 2020 at Church in the Valley. (Canada Blood Services/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley school rivals get competitive by giving back

Teens from Langley Secondary and Brookswood Secondary organize blood drive

These local rivals couldn’t wait for school sports to resume so they found a new way to get competitive and with it are helping Canadians in need.

Four friends at two Langley high schools are organizing a blood drive to inspire more youth to become regular blood donors.

Grade 12 students Mya Ellis and Cassie Renaud from Langley Secondary and Stefanie Robb and Kate Straforelli from Brookswood Secondary schools are hosting a blood drive on Dec. 17 at the Church in the Valley.

“At the beginning of the year I would usually go volunteer at the hospital, but since that program isn’t running right now because of COVID, I wanted to find a way I could still give back to the community,” 17-year-old Mya explained .

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It was Mya’s mom, Lisa Ellis, vice-principal at Brookswood Secondary, who suggested the teen get some friends together to organize a blood drive, but first the group needed to experience giving blood before they could encourage others to do the same.

“Me and my friends went to see what it was like,” Mya said

The group donated blood for the first time on Nov. 21 and have since been encouraging others to do the same.

“I thought the needle was going to hurt, but it didn’t even hurt…. It’s so calm and so easy to do,” Mya recalled.

In fact, the group has turned the cause into a competition between both schools.

In the first of what they hope will be many drives hosted during the school-year, the teens are keeping track of how many donors are giving blood on Dec. 17 on behalf of each school.

“We made it a competition between the two schools [to see] who can get the most donors,” Mya said.

The schools were given unique Partners for Life (PFL) numbers from Canadian Blood Services so those donating can provide either number to help the schools keep track of the number of donors.

The PFL from Langley Secondary is LANG0091491 and for Brookswood Secondary is BROO0091522.

“Mya asked me which school I’ll be donating for but I’m not saying,” said Lisa, “What I will say is I’m proud of her and the kids at my school for taking this on.”

As of Thursday, there were 12 donors registered to give blood at Church in the Valley on Dec. 17 on behalf of Brookswood Secondary, and 16 donors on behalf of Langley Secondary, according to Mya.

And she wants to remind the public that Canada Blood Services offers appointments year-round and to donate whenever convenient.

Canadian Blood Services is calling on all eligible blood donors to respond to the immediate need to fill more than 15,000 open appointments across Canada over the holidays by Dec. 31.

“Not all connections can be virtual during COVID-19. We’re grateful to donors and frontline workers who have helped maintain an adequate level of blood products for patients since the onset of the pandemic. But the demand for blood never stops, even over the holidays,” said Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services chief supply chain officer and vice-president of donor relations.

Donated blood lasts only 42 days but platelets that are commonly used to treat cancer patients have a short expiry of seven days, according to the organization.

Donor centres will be open on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, in addition to regularly scheduled operating hours.

For more information or to see availability of appointments visit https://myaccount.blood.ca/en/donate


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

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