More MS teens soon to be eligible to give blood

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Soon, more Mississippi teens will be able to roll up their sleeves and give blood. On Wednesday, a new state law takes effect that will allow 16-year-olds to donate blood with parental consent. Right now, a person has to be at least 17 years old.

The American Red Cross Gulf Coast Chapter say many neighboring states have already lowered the age limit.

"We expect to see at least a 30 percent increase in our blood collections at high schools. That's typical of about what we've seen in other parts of our region," said Liz Gaulke, spokesperson. "Here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, because our high school students are excellent blood donors, it wouldn't surprise me if we see more than that."

Gaulke says 16-year-olds who want to donate blood over the summer must have a parent accompany them to the donation site. When school starts back, she says the Red Cross plans to send consent forms home with the students.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.