By: Lena Uccello
In 2015, Wethersfield High School teacher, Susan Coco, introduced the blood drive. Held annually three times a year, the school continues to make a difference by collecting blood and saving lives.
Before coming to Wethersfield, Coco taught at Cheshire High. It was here that she first got involved with the event and officially began helping out.
“I really wanted to get involved with the school environment, so that was actually my first extracurricular activity I got involved in,” said Coco.
Though the drive was a way for her to make a difference within the community itself, the real reason behind Coco’s involvement was much more personal.
Her father, a life-long doner, would donate blood every 56 days. At a young age, Ms. Coco would accompany him to these drives and embrace the good deed he was committing. He set an example and gave her the motive to give back.
“He’s probably one of the main reasons why I thought the blood drive was a worthy cause, a worthy reason to get involved,” she said.
After her transfer to Wethersfield High, Coco realized the school did not host an annual blood drive, so she took a stand, got permission and made it happen.
Wethersfield High School senior Anisa Zoto has been working alongside Coco, at the front line of this event, for the last three years. With her love of the medical field and the help of her science teacher Mr. Chatfield, Zoto knew she had to take part in this cause.
“The blood drive isn’t necessarily me doing anything medically involved, but it’s still helping people which is all medicine is really,” said Zoto.
It was after the pandemic hit in 2020 that this event became nearly impossible. Blood banks became super low on supply and with that, the lives of all those in need became at risk.
“According to the New York Blood Center, which provides blood to hospitals in the greater New York City area, the gap between blood needed and what's being donated is now averaging around 8,000 donations per month.”
But this news didn’t stop Coco or the other coordinators at WHS from making it happen.
They found ways to hold the drive, no matter what it took. Instead of taking place during the school year, the team redirected to the elementary schools through summer break. It was important that they still be able to make a difference, even amidst the rising COVID-19.
With her passion and determination, Coco has already scheduled this year’s drive. As of now, it is planned to be held on December 15, 2021 from 7:40am-2:00pm. If you are interested in donating or volunteering, students, or teachers can sign up during lunch waves or email Ms. Coco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Until you try it, you shouldn’t say no. Little reasons like I’m afraid of needles is not a good reason because if you were on the receiving end of needing blood, then you’re hoping that people are going to give,” said Coco.
As the saying goes, “you’ll ever know until you try,” so reach out and help. Don’t want to or cannot donate? Volunteer. There are always multiple ways to make a difference and you can be one of them.
As Zoto said, “It’s easy, it only takes a couple hours, and those couple hours save hundreds of people.”
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.