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by Stephanie A '11

Saving lives with music

BSGE students know first-hand how important Blood Drives  are. One that I have been involved with combines music with saving lives. Music Saves Lives is a relatively new organization, started in late 2005, on a mission to collect as many blood and bone marrow donations as possible. Although it hasn’t even been 5 years since MSL has started, they’ve reached out to an astounding number of individuals under the age of 25. In total this California-based organization has collected more than 1 million blood donations and 15,000 bone marrow registrations.
The music aspect of this organization comes from the creator, Russel Hornbeek. Previously working as a tissue recovery tech for 9 years with the American Red Cross, he was very knowledgeableSaving lives with music about the importance of blood donations, especially because his teenage cousin was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer. Even worse, the family was faced with the problem of a blood shortage in the nation. Every summer, blood supplies are lower than at the beginning of the year because students, the leading blood donators of the nation, are out on vacation. With this in mind, Hornbeek needed something that would attract all those young donators regardless of whether they were on vacation. He looked through his son’s iPod and came up with the idea to mainly get music lovers to donate. Russel then talked to Kevin Lyman, the founder of Warped Tour, a major summer music festival, and proposed that every blood donator would receive a backstage pass to Warped. That first year, 3,000 people donated blood in Southern California. It was clear MSL was an instant success.
After such a great turnout in California, the company decided to go national. The next year, the number of donators went up from 3,000 to 29,000. Fast-forward two more years and the company gathered together 70,000 donations. With the growing number of donors, however, the backstage pass rewards have been reduced to meet-and-greets, still a big deal for music fans everywhere attending the nationwide Vans Warped Tour.
The number of bone marrow donators is significantly less because of the 1 match to 25,000 registrations ratio. MSL has had 9 matches out of 15,000 applicants, which in itself is truly something to be proud of. Bone Marrow donations require stimulating stem cells to make more of them. Once there is an abundant amount of stem cells, they can be transplanted into someone with leukemia.
There are also many other patients that benefit from Blood Organizations such as Music Saves Lives. Donated blood can help restore a person’s blood volume after surgery, accident, or childbirth as well as improve the immunity of a patient suffering from cancer or leukemia and other diseases. It also improves the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.
Before being able to donate blood, one must go through a screening process to ensure they are healthy and able to donate. Conditions such as hepatitis, malaria, heart disease, AIDS and most forms of cancer would make someone unsuitable as a donor. Pulse, temperature and blood pressure are taken at the blood drive and prospective donors cannot donate if these factors aren’t stable. Most people who have just had surgery or are pregnant are also not able to donate blood.
The whole procedure takes about an hour but the actual time it takes to draw the blood out from an individual is only 10 minutes! It is also a relatively painless procedure, and not to mention, safe! Clean and sterile needles are used to ensure no one gets sick.
There is no reason not to donate if you are healthy and willing to endure the hour long procedure. There are always food and refreshments available for donors at the end of their process, so food-lovers, this may be reason enough for you. With so many unfortunate others out there, our community needs students more than ever to donate blood, especially in the summer, when there is a shortage. Remember, if you have donated blood already, you must wait 56 days before donating again. Usually, donations are 1 pint per person.

By Mr. Lakhaney

TOK Teacher

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