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Students Roll Up Sleeves In Support Of Red Cross
Student donors Hunter Wheeler, left, and Sandy Vargas give the thumbs up sign after completing their blood donations on Friday, taking a rest while enjoying refreshments. Marg Jackson/The Times

More than three dozen Escalon High School students turned out for a Friday blood drive, hosted through the American Red Cross and overseen by the high school’s Interact Club.

Red Cross officials said a total of 24 good units were collected, with another 14 potential donors turned away for a variety of reasons. Those can include low iron, failing to meet weight requirements, etc.

Senior Heidy Medina was among those students going through the process to donate a pint of blood. The American Red Cross brought its bloodmobile – an actual bus featuring several blood collection stations – to the school for the event.

“I have given before,” said Medina. “I want to become a phlebotomist.”

So her interest was also in watching the Red Cross officials work while also giving a donation of her own.

Isabel Gallego, also a senior, was there for a first time donation.

“I’m not too nervous,” she said.

The blood drive at the school is typically offered twice during the year and this marked the fall collection.

Already having completed their donations, sophomore Hunter Wheeler and junior Sandy Vargas were spending the required amount of time in the ‘canteen’ area with refreshments.

“I just wanted to help people,” said Wheeler, a first time donor. “I’ll do it again.”

Vargas admitted it was a little “nerve-wracking” but ultimately felt good about the experience and also would likely be returning to give again.

All students that registered to donate received a special blood donor T-shirt.

Interact Club President Lorena Peralta said it was a little tough this year because the blood drive usually has been set up in the school’s Performing Arts Center. Having the bus and running the registration table and canteen outside were a little bit different.

“It’s really cold, but it’s going well,” she noted on Friday morning, when gusty winds blew through the area and clouds filled the skies.