ROCKFORD, Ill. (May 31, 2023) – Today the Rock River Valley Blood Center (RRVBC) announced the winner of its Schools Unite to Save Lives challenge with local area high schools.

The winning school is Jefferson High School, receiving the most donations with 281, earning bragging rights and a trophy.

The competition took place from Feb. 1 through May 28 at all four RRVBC donor centers and mobile blood drives. Donors could say which school they were donating on behalf of, and the school would receive a point. The challenge, initiated in 2021 by the Guilford High School Health Science Academy, was designed to support the blood center because many school drives had been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This challenge is such a great way to get young individuals involved and excited to donate blood and save lives,” said Lisa Entrikin, CEO of the Rock River Valley Blood Center. “We were so thrilled to partner with students and local communities in such a big way to make a huge impact on our communities’ blood supply.”

This year, more than 30 schools participated in the challenge.

“This is such a great way to introduce young people to a lifelong action of saving lives,” Entrikin said. “We hope to see more students over and over again and are thankful for their participation.”

Locally, RRVBC needs to see 800 donors per week to supply enough blood to serve 13 hospitals in the region.

Community members are encouraged to schedule an appointment to donate blood if they never have before, and return donors are encouraged to ask friends and family who have never donated before to give blood in support of RRVBC’s initiative to recruit 7,000 new donors in 2023 to fill the local blood supply in honor of the organization’s 70th anniversary.

Donors can make appointments online at or by calling 815-965-8751. Walk-ins will also be welcome.

First-time donors should bring a photo ID. Individuals can donate a single unit (whole blood donation, the most common type) every 56 days. Students can donate once they turn 16 years of age and must have signed parental consent.