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Teens as young as 16 can donate blood, and one Valley teen is working to put that fact to use

The goal of the Pierce Teen Blood Drive Challenge is to get 2,022 more blood donations by the end of the year, 2022.

PHOENIX — Nearly 330,000,000 people live in the United States and out of that number, the Red Cross estimates about 7,000,000 people donate blood every year. Now, a Valley teen is on a mission to encourage his peers to get out and give.

Pierce Liestenfeltz is a 16-year-old from Phoenix who’s aiming to get 2,022 new blood donations by the end of this year, 2022. Liestenfeltz said he was surprised teens his age could donate blood and learned that when he recently got his driver’s license.

Liestenfeltz’s mission is called the Pierce Teen Blood Drive Challenge. He’s leading people his age take it one arm at a time, tell a friend, go with a friend, post a selfie and tag him, to reach 2,022 safe blood donations by the end of the year.

Pierce has donated blood a couple of times now and he wants his reach to stretch as far as possible, to make as big of an impact as he can. “It has to do with giving back in a way that’s tangible," Liestenfeltz said. "You’re sending out a part of yourself into the world which makes it feel more meaningful for me.”

Pierce using his network at school and on social media is vital for the Red Cross in encouraging donors to roll up their sleeves, Collin Williams, a Red Cross Blood Drive Account Manager said. 

“We found that when people donate at an early age, they carry those great habits through high school," Williams said. "They carry them through college and on through the rest of their lives. So tracking young donors is vitally important for us."

Pierce recently realized the need for people in his age group to give back, and hopes in a year his mission will have more donors and no plans of stopping. The teen is also hosting a blood drive on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Cicero Preparatory Academy from 8 a.m., until 2 p.m.

Teens as young as 16 can donate blood with parent consent, the Red Cross said. You can visit Pierce's website, onearmatatime.org, to learn more

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