The National Honor Society from the Montezuma-Cortez High School will host a blood drive throughout the school day on Thursday.
It is one of two drives the school’s honor society hosts every year. The honor society is participating through Vitalant, a nonprofit that provides blood to local hospitals, including Southwest Memorial Hospital.
The drive comes amidst a national and local blood shortage.
“Due to donor sickness, weather conditions and the government shutdown, this area has lost approximately 70 units in the past two weeks alone,” said Kristan Velarde, Vitalant’s recruitment representative for the Four Corners region.
She added that high school students make up Vitalant’s largest donor base.
“When schools are not in session, our blood supplies drop tremendously,” Velarde said. “We are still in critical need for donors, and anyone can help us save a life.”
The Cortez students, she said, consistently bring in over 100 units of blood every year. After being collected, blood is shipped to a lab, where it is then tested for safety before being separated into three components: plasma, red cells and platelets.
According to the American Red Cross, one donation can save up to three lives, and about 36,000 red blood cell units are needed every day in the United States.
Thursday’s drive will take place in the MCHS auxiliary gym, 418 Sligo St., from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Interested donors can register online through the Vitalant website.