The Rock River Valley Blood Center (RRVBC) announced it will be partnering with local area high schools again this year for the Schools Unite to Save Lives challenge. The competition will take place from Feb. 1 through May 21 at all four RRVBC donor centers and mobile blood drives during regular business hours.

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.

Donors are asked to mention the high school they are supporting when they donate blood. The school who receives the most donations will earn bragging rights and a trophy. Individuals feeling healthy and well are encouraged to schedule a donation appointment at, on the myRRVBC app, or by calling 815-965-8751. Walk-ins are also welcome.

“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 with the participation last year and can’t wait to partner with the students again to make a huge impact on our communities’ blood supply.”

Last year, more than 30 schools participated with Freeport coming out on top with the most votes.

Locally, RRVBC needs to see 800 donors per week to supply enough blood to serve 13 hospitals in the region. Donating blood is simple, and one unit can save up to three lives. After registering, a donor care specialist will take individual’s vitals (temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin), and each person must complete an eligibility questionnaire before they can sit back and relax while giving. The donation itself only lasts about 10 minutes. Refreshments await after donating.

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 are able to donate once they turn 16 years of age and must have a signed parental consent.