Nathan Hale High School senior earns scholarship for coordinating blood drive

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WEST ALLIS — While many students were enjoying a holiday break from school this winter, Tijana Sagorac Gruichich of West Allis was planning to help save lives by co-coordinating an American Red Cross blood drive. The Nathan Hale High School senior earned a $2,500 scholarship as a result of her efforts.

As part of the Red Cross Leaders Save Lives program, Gruichich hosted a blood drive at Southridge Mall in Greendale, Wis., on Dec. 28, 2015. The blood drive was successful, bringing in 175 blood donations, exceeding its goal. As a result, Gruichich was entered to win up to a $2,500 college scholarship and was chosen as a winner. In addition, Gruichich received a $50 gift card for giftcertificates.com.

Gruichich, who has hosted blood drives since she was a high school sophomore, wanted to host her third one in her senior year. Gruichich found out she won the scholarship during halftime of the Super Bowl earlier this month. “I was so shocked, I started to tear up,” she said. Gruichich will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall and plans to major in Kinesiology and minor in Spanish. “If you are eligible to donate, you should,” she said. “The time it takes to donate is worth the potential of saving three lives.”

Gruichich will continue to help save lives by hosting another blood drive on May 25 at Nathan Hale High School. The Red Cross has collected nearly 900 pints of blood at blood drives that Gruichich has coordinated; 240 were donated by first-time donors.

Registration is now available for the summer 2016 program, which will award scholarships to 10 student participants. More information is available at redcrossblood.org/leaderssavelives.

How to donate blood

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a home or work computer prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.