By Anna Hiatt
Edited by Nancy Waddell
When Megan LaPlante saw that the Red Cross was doing a blood drive in her neighborhood, she was both excited and nervous. As Miss Montana High School America, Megan was looking for ways to give back to her community, and the mission of the Red Cross “Give Blood” campaign appealed to her.
“To me, this is really giving back because you are giving a part of you to someone who needs it, and you know you’re saving lives in a tangible way,” she said. “There is no way to reproduce blood without donation. Some people need blood to stay alive, so we all need to do our part to help.”
But she was also nervous at the idea of doing this alone.
Luckily, Megan’s mother, Susan LaPlante, was there to help and agreed to come donate together with her teenage daughter!
“I am a Respiratory Therapist,” Susan said. “Throughout my career in medicine, I have witnessed the lives saved from receiving blood throughout different units in the hospital. It’s amazing to me to watch someone – especially a tiny baby, who would have otherwise died without this miraculous gift – rally and recover by receiving blood!”
Both Megan and Susan were checked in at the Red Cross station. Megan admitted she was nervous at first, but then was able to relax and enjoy the experience.
“I’m so beyond scared of needles! I always try to give myself a pep talk, saying that I can do it, but whenever I see a needle I get super freaked out. But I did really well in the chair! It was no big deal at all I would love to do it again.”
When asked what Megan thought would encourage more teens and their parents to come and donate together to the Red Cross blood drive campaigns, Megan said “I think if they knew that the blood also went to other teens and young adults like themselves, they would definitely come out here. But it also does sound kind of scary to be honest. I am glad I came today, and am so glad my mother was here with me.”
Susan agreed, “I think it’s important to encourage EVERYONE who is physically able to donate blood. Especially our teens. They learn by example, and when we are positive and encouraging about something that they might see as “scary”, they are more likely to give it a try. It’s never too early to start saving lives.”
“Blood donors must be at least 17-years-old to donate. However, some states allow 16-year-olds to donate blood with parental consent. A parent will need to review the Student’s Guide to Blood Donation (also available in Spanish) and sign the parent/guardian consent form for the young adult to be able to donate blood.” – American Red Cross Blood Donation Requirements.
The most up to date eligibility information can be obtained by contacting the American Red Cross blood donation center nearest you.
For more information visit: http://www.redcrossblood.org/students/sixteen