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Younger blood donors make an impact

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Amarillo, TX - 16 year old blood donors are having an impact on blood drives in our area.

It's been only a year since the Coffee Memorial Blood Center started accepting 16 year-old donors, but it's already making a difference.

"We've collected blood from 802 to be exact, 16 year old donors so that's a pretty significant number for us," said President and CEO of the Coffee Memorial Blood Center Joe McCormick.

And at Randall High School's blood drive today and tomorrow it's allowing more students to give back.

"We always do a blood drive here at Randall, we plan one in the fall and in the spring and it's just a good way for our students to learn about serving the community," Amber Hall who is a Teacher at Randall High School said.

But high school donors come with unique challenges.

"Probably the most common thing that we see particularly in the young female donors is that their iron counts aren't high enough to donate blood, I don't like to say they have low iron, that's not necessarily the case, your iron count has to be a little above normal to donate blood," McCormick explained.

However one aspect which has made it easier for younger people to donate, is going to a height to weight ratio system rather than the traditional requirement of weighing 115 pounds.

"What we found, there were actually studies done that it really has to do with the total blood volume of the donor and if we can collect blood from donors who have a total blood volume over 3,050 cc's then there is much less likelihood of a reaction from donation," said McCormick.

Randall High School hopes to collect 100 units of blood for the Coffee Memorial Blood Center over the next two days.

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