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A high school student organizes a local blood drive

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) – A 16-year-old boy has taken it upon himself to help the low blood supply in Wichita Falls.

“I think the main thing I learned from this is that we can never get too involved in our community, it’s so important that we give back,” said Chaitanya Reddy.

Reddy is a 16-year-old high school student and the son of a local hematologist with Texas Oncology.

“In college I hope to take a semester to study abroad or volunteer abroad or take a gap year to help people who can’t help themselves,” Reddy said.

Being a junior in high school didn’t stop him from starting his journey to help people in need. When Reddy heard reports of low blood supplies across the country, he immediately thought of ways he could make a difference in his own community.

“Being raised by a hematologist, I understand how critical blood products are to our healthcare system,” Reddy said.

“I spoke with Ms. Rene O’Neal, of Texas Oncology and together we brainstormed the best way to benefit the community and it ended up being a blood donation. We applied with the Texas Blood Institute, one of the biggest selling factors for them was that all the blood would stay within our community, which is a huge factor,” Reddy said.

Renee O’Neal, a Physician Assistant with Texas Oncology, has worked firsthand with patients who need blood and will help care for blood donors.

“Every day I see patients who need blood transfusions, I’ve seen them at their worst times, I’ve seen them after blood transfusions and it’s just amazing to see how the body reacts once they get it,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal says it’s actually beneficial for people to donate blood because once it allows the body to make new blood for your body..

He says it was great working on organizing this event with Reddy

“He’s hit up so many different locations here in Wichita Falls to see donations and sponsorships and things like that and it’s just wonderful to see the younger group come in and give back to the community,” O’Neal said.

The target attendance for the blood drive is 50 donors and the blood drive will take place on Friday, February 24 from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm at 2100 Windthorst road in Wichita Falls.

Eligibility requirements for blood donors are that donors must be in good health, must be 16 years of age or older with parental consent or 17 years of age and older, and carry valid identification.

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