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Nearly 50 schools compete in blood donation challenge

SPRINGFIELD -- High school students have a chance to give and receive.
SPRINGFIELD -- High school students have a chance to give and receive. The students are challenging each other to donate blood and their help could save lives from Springfield to Champaign-Urbana. WCIA-3's Alex Davis has more.

Those with the blood center say this is a great way for teenagers to get involved. They're seeing the significance of their gift, up close and personal.

"I've always seen it and I've always wanted to."

Chatham High School senior, Kimberly Zake, overcame her fears Friday. With her husband by her side, the two donated blood.

"I was so scared, like, he was late, and I'm like, I can't do this without him. And so he showed up and made everything so much better."

Zake and her husband say, the need for blood is one of the reasons they gave.

"I'm scared of needles, but I kind of just figured, you know, I'd want someone to donate blood for me, so why not do the same for someone else?"

These students and others are learning a life lesson. It's something Tara Matheson, with the Central Illinois Community Blood Bank, hopes will last for years to come.

"The earliest they're able to know how important blood donation is, the longer they're going to helping their lifetime with donated blood."

Matheson says, now is a good time for students to get on board.

"High schools are a huge target for educating on blood donation."

This is the 13th year Springfield Clinic has challenged high school students to donate blood. Last year, they collected more than 12,000 blood donations. This year, they hope for another big year.

"We need blood everyday and the thing is, it needs to be on the shelves when it's needed."

48 area schools are involved. The schools with the highest percentage of blood donations will win a scholarship which will be awarded to a graduating senior.
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