SciMaTech blood drive honors former student

Kassiani Anifantis

The annual school blood drive in memory of former student Reilly Webb took place on Monday, March 14. The student-led drive, which is organized in coordination with Jackson-Reed’s SciMaTech Academy and INOVA, was spearheaded by seniors Annie McLean and Riley Frey. 

Students who are 16 years old and above are eligible to donate. “We were hoping for around 60 eligible donors, and we ended up with more donations than that,” McLean said. With 73 pints of blood collected, the drive nearly exceeded Jackson-Reed’s previous record of pints donated in one drive.

“It was our first year back from COVID and a lot of people didn’t even know we did blood drives at Jackson-Reed. But, it did end up a success,” McLean said. The first blood drive happened in 2018 when Reilly Webb’s sister Nora Webb founded the event  in his honor. Reilly died of leukemia in September 2017. Despite attending the school for just a short period of time before his diagnosis, Webb was involved in theater and stagecraft.

 In the years that followed the first blood drive, Nora Webb continued to head the event at Wilson. She graduated in 2020, and with school being virtual last year, the blood drive hadn’t happened in two years. Despite school being fully in person this year, Frey and McLean still encountered some COVID-related complications. For example, they had to choose a date when participants were unlikely to have been traveling recently in order to minimize the possibility of people traveling or contracting COVID. Masks were also required for everyone present at the drive, except when consuming the snacks that followed donation.

Despite the success, Frey and McLean emphasized the importance of advertising. 

“Once we returned from February break, we sort of crammed our advertising until the date of the drive. If we took that approach maybe a week or two before the break as well, I think we could have had more donors,” Frey said. •