Back-to-school activities are filled with fun times at football games, student dances and other special events. The American Red Cross encourages eligible students to consider adding blood donation to this list of fall activities.
Young people are among the most committed group of blood donors and contribute a significant portion of the nation’s blood supply. In fact, blood donations at high school and college blood drives account for as much as 20 percent of donations during the school year. The Red Cross appreciates the opportunity to introduce young people to the benefits of voluntary blood donation and community service, and is grateful for the generosity of student blood donors.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
High school junior Mara Baker recently celebrated her birthday. What made turning “sweet 16” even sweeter was her decision to give blood for the first time. Mara followed in the footsteps of her older sister, Kimberly, who donated for the first time last year at age 17.
“My dad passed away when I was two,” said Mara. “There wasn’t anything that could be done to save him, but maybe I can do something to save someone else’s life.”
Adelaide Weiss, age 20, recently rolled up her sleeve for the first time at her college blood drive. Adelaide donated in honor of her brother who just had open-heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“You never really know when someone you love is going to need blood,” said Adelaide. “My entire family is grateful that there was blood available when my brother needed it.”
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. High school and college students are an important component of the Red Cross’s ability to ensure blood is available for patients in need.
For those individuals not eligible to donate, please consider volunteering at a school blood drive or hosting a blood drive through the Red Cross.
For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. Donors can also check out the new Red Cross Blood Donor App, which is free and available for download now. It can be found in app stores by searching for American Red Cross, visiting redcross.org/apps or redcrossblood.org/bloodapp, or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 for a direct link to download. Message and data rates for texting may apply.