PHOENIX - For the 13th consecutive year, teens made up the largest group of blood donors in Arizona. One out of six blood donations came from a teen.

Wednesday morning, United Blood Services honored high schools from across the state at the Chase Field Suite Lounge for recruiting 21,761 blood donors last school year. It’s all part of the High School Blood Drive Challenge, sponsored by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Highland High School in Gilbert was the big winner, bringing in the most donations with 725.

“We're making a huge difference. Getting to see that difference that we're making is super cool and it's really inspiring us to keep doing it,” said Hailey Nguyen. “It’s something our school does as a whole. It’s doing something that is important. Obviously, in high school you have school dances and football games and all that stuff but blood drives matter to the community.”

According to United Blood Services, one blood donation has the potential to help three patients.

Hayley Elliot is one of those patients. The Pinnacle High School senior has received 110 lifesaving blood transfusions. She was born with Diamond Blackfan Anemia, a rare disease preventing her body from producing red blood cells. Every month for seven years she received a blood transfusion until a successful bone marrow transplant cured her.

Elliot is happy to see her peers step up and donate.

“It makes me excited because they’re creating the next group of possible lifetime blood donors. You don’t know what kid could come in and donate blood and become a lifelong donor,” said Hayley Elliot.

Cameron Bates a junior at Hamilton High School in Chandler says donating blood is easy and necessary.

“Something I can easily generate. I'm blessed to have a healthy body. Other people don't have that opportunity. So, they need other people to help them to give them something they can’t make themselves,” said Cameron Bates “Blood is free. You have an infinite supply of it. It’s just a matter of how much you can give at a time.”

Students say their schools do four blood drives per school year. While their efforts should be commended the need for blood donors never goes away. United Blood Services is always looking for more blood donors.

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