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Tulsa Red Cross: 16-Year-Old Blood Donors Making A Difference

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A new law lets 16-year-olds with parental consent donate blood. A new law lets 16-year-olds with parental consent donate blood.
The Tulsa Area Red Cross says 16-year-old blood donors are making a positive difference. The Tulsa Area Red Cross says 16-year-old blood donors are making a positive difference.
Jasmine Cervantes is one of only 11 Oklahoma teens who have donated three times since the new law was passed. Jasmine Cervantes is one of only 11 Oklahoma teens who have donated three times since the new law was passed.
High Schools like Broken Arrow, where Cervantes goes, often hold blood drives. Now more students can contribute. High Schools like Broken Arrow, where Cervantes goes, often hold blood drives. Now more students can contribute.

Rick Wells, News On 6

TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma --  Summer's approaching which means vacations, trips to the lake, and a lot of outdoor activities. For the Red Cross, summer means a drop in blood donations even though as many people as ever need blood. 

But a new law in Oklahoma allows 16 year olds to donate, and the Red Cross says it is making a positive difference.

At the Red Cross blood services center in Tulsa, donated blood and blood products are stored and distributed.

The annual problem for the Red Cross is that during the summer, many regular donors take a vacation. The need for blood does not. 

Last year with encouragement from the Red Cross, the legislature passed a new blood donor law. 

Rick Wells: "What does it do?"
Jan Hale: "It allows 16 year olds with parental consent to donate blood."

Jan Hale is the Communications Director for the Red Cross in Tulsa. She told me many high schools hold blood drives. Until this year, only 17 and 18 year olds could participate, but the new law has made a real difference.

"It has been a really pleasant surprise for the Red Cross," she said.

Now every good story needs a hero, and here she comes.

Jasmine Cervantes is a 16-year-old junior at Broken Arrow High. She is one of only eleven 16 year olds in Oklahoma to have donated three times since the law went into effect last fall. 

"I think it's helping people," said 16-year-old blood donor Jasmine Cervantes.

Steve Schwab is an assistant principal at Broken Arrow; he says the kids get it. They understand how important this can be. 

"The coolest thing about it is, it instills in these kids it's not just about my little world here," Schwab said.

"You've accomplished something; you've saved a life. Someone can live because of you. It's a very rewarding experience," said Broken Arrow high school student and blood donor Jasmine Cervantes. 

Pretty mature sentiment for someone so young.

The Red Cross says since the law went into effect, they've received hundreds of units of blood from 16 year olds.

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