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16-year-olds will soon be able to donate blood

The American Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region will soon be able to accept blood donations from 16-year-olds who have written parental or guardian consent thanks to a new bill that passed in the House Dec. 16.

Now even more high school students can help save lives by donating blood. The American Red Cross is excited to spread awareness that blood donation is something a 16-year-old student can do to make a difference in their community.

"Many of our committed donors began donating blood while they were in high school. As our donor base continues to age, it is important to educate a group of young donors about the importance of a safe and stable blood supply," said Sharon Jaksa, CEO of the American Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region.

Any 16-year-old who would like to donate blood should visit RedCrossBlood.org or call the eligibility hotline at (866) 236-3276 to find out more information. Before donating, 16-year-olds must review a few materials and have a parent or guardian sign a written consent form. This written consent form must be brought with the 16-year-old to the blood drive or donor center.

"We have always viewed the requirements of parental consent for 16-year-old donors as an opportunity to educate parents on the importance of blood donation," Jaksa said. "We are excited to have the ability to recruit 16 year-olds and educate their parents at the same time."

Much like voting and driving a car, the opportunity to donate blood and save a life has become a right of passage for thousands of high school students. Until now, high school students under the age of 17 have been denied that right of passage. The bill is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm next week and put into effect immediately following the governor's signature.

Call 1 (800) 733-2767 or visit RedCrossBlood.org to make an appointment to donate blood.

The Great Lakes Region serves 65 counties and needs to collect about 700 units of blood a day to meet patient needs in hospitals across the state. In addition to providing blood to our community, the American Red Cross also provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.

(Note: This report is provided as a service to our readers and a service to the group or individual mentioned in the release. Usually, only minor editing is done. The group or individual is responsible for all information provided.)

 

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