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Saving lives young: Arizona teens account for 1 out of every 6 blood donations in the state

(AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

PHOENIX — For 12 straight years, teenagers have been the largest group of blood donors in Arizona.

According to United Blood Services, one out of every six blood donations across the state come from a teenager.

One of the big reasons for that is organized blood drives at high schools. Across the state, 191 schools take part in a high school blood drive challenge.

“All it really takes with teens is just to challenge them and tell them how important they are,” said Sue Thew, spokeswoman for United Blood Services. “They respond to the occasion.”

Thew said 500 blood donors are needed every day to help patients throughout Arizona, and it can be difficult to obtain the supply that is needed. Thew said that teens have really played their part in boosting the blood bank supply.

“I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t have [teens] impacting lives,” Thew said.

Thew said the students who organize blood drives at their schools are recruiting other students to take part in the blood drives, while developing both leadership and public speaking skills.

“They are also making a huge impact by bringing in more than 21,000 blood donations at school-sponsored blood drives during the year,” Thew said.

The Arizona Diamondbacks partner with the blood drive challenge. Schools that reach high award levels receive tickets to a game, and the top schools in blood donations in each region get pregame recognition.

Since the Diamondbacks joined as partners, teen donations have nearly tripled.

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