As baby boomers age, blood center looks to youth

CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) — Beds, nurses, and some fresh sandwiches welcome students at Centerville High School.

Twice a year, a gym inside the school becomes a blood donation center.

“They get to sign up during lunch time,” said Savannah Edsall, a junior at Centerville High School. “It’s an awesome program. They can come in and donate blood.”

For the sixty or more students signing up to donate, this could be there first, second, or third time giving blood.

It is a start to reaching the amount of donations their elders have made.

On any given afternoon, you can find people giving blood at the Community Blood Center in Dayton.

But a look around, you will notice one group of people visiting more than others.

Research from the Community Blood Center in Dayton shows a drop-off of donations from those age groups following the baby boomers.

According to the 2014 donations, baby boomers donated a majority of the units collected:

  • 16-19 year olds: 20%
  • 20-29 year olds: 12%
  • 30-39 year olds: 9%
  • 40-49 year olds: 15%
  • 50-59 year olds: 24%
  • 60-69 year olds: 20%

Officials say the reason for the change is be life gets busy for people after college and donating blood becomes an afterthought.

But baby boomers continued to give out of a sense of citizenship.

“For us, baby boomers as well as the generation before them, World War II generation, were people that really grew up with a sense of civic duty and the right thing to do is to give blood and they did it enthusiastically,” said Mark Pompilio, Public Relations for the Community Blood Center in Dayton.

With the baby boomers getting older and donating less, the focus has shifted to high school students.

Figures show students in the Miami Valley are picking up the pace, much higher than the national average.

Pompilio credits the high numbers to high school blood drives, incentives like a red cord given at graduation for students who donate three times, and calling students to let them know when their blood has been used.

“It’s really nice the kids get that sense of pride afterwards and their blood can save up to three lives which is awesome,” said Edsall

An awesome feeling blood centers hope will keep a younger generation motivated to give.

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