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ST. LOUIS — The American Red Cross reminds eligible donors that it’s never too late — or too early — to make blood donation a lifelong habit.
Many blood donors report making their first blood donation while in high school. High school and college students account for about 20 percent of blood donations to the Red Cross. Individuals can begin donating at age 17, or 16 in some states, and continue to donate as long as they meet eligibility requirements.
Blood donations often decline during the winter holidays when school is not in session. The Red Cross is offering 16- to 24-year-old students currently enrolled in school a way to help overcome this seasonal decline and have a chance to win a college scholarship. Students who sponsor a successful blood drive between Dec. 15 and Jan. 15 through the Leaders Save Lives program will be entered to win a college scholarship and will receive a gift card. More information is available at www.redcrossblood.org/leaderssavelives.
Donors are needed year-round, particularly those with types O negative, A negative and B negative blood. Those who attempt to donate in October will be entered to win a $5,000 Visa gift card, courtesy of Suburban Propane.
To make an appointment to donate blood, eligible donors are encouraged to download the new Red Cross Blood Donor App from app stores or text BLOODAPP to 90999 to receive a download link, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Alton: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, Alton Memorial Hospital, 1 Memorial Drive
Bethalto: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, Dairy Queen Bethalto, 444 W. Bethalto Drive.
Collinsville: 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, Knights of Columbus, 1 Columbus Plaza
Collinsville: 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, Dorris Intermediate, 1841 Vandalia
Edwardsville: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, Trinity Lutheran Church, 600 Water St.
Edwardsville: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, Culvers, 6724 Old Troy Road
Edwardsville: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, GC Cuisine and Crystal Gardens, 1230 University Drive
Edwardsville: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, Madison County Farm Bureau, 900 Hillsboro Ave
Glen Carbon: Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, Gateway Family Church, 97 Oaklawn Drive
Wood River: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, Wood River Moose Lodge No. 1349, 730 Wesley Drive
For information, visit www.redcross.org or visit Twitter at @RedCross.