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“It could change somebody’s life:” College students bridge the gap when blood donations drop

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Winter is notorious for causing blood supply shortages in Wisconsin. It's easy to understand -- since people don't move around as much when it's cold outside. But instead of leaning on their most frequent donors, the Red Cross is going after its youngest.

Ask the average college student and they will probably tell you there are never enough hours in a day. But it's easy for students like Chris Kollath to find time to donate blood.

"Something easy I can do to help somebody out. It doesn't take too much of my time, I can multitask and get stuff done," said Kollath.

The Marquette University sophomore, feet up and arms stretched out, set aside 45 minutes on Tuesday, February 24th to review notes -- and donate blood. He has donated before.

Mary Antolak is also a veteran blood donor. But on Tuesday, she also brought a friend who has never donated.

"We came between classes and we think it could change somebody's life potentially," said Antolak.

It's all part of the Red Cross' plan.

"Somebody comes in. Maybe they're a little afraid to come on their own but they come with a friend and realize it's not as bad as maybe they made it out to seem," said Amy Harmatys of the Red Cross.

That's exactly what Harmatys hopes -- every time she sets up a blood drive at a college campus. That's because even during the coldest months, college life keeps going.

"It makes up for a lot of them that we do lose during the winter months," said Harmatys.

In this case, the demographic that typically donates less ends up coming through in a pinch. At Marquette, a blood drive is really more like a study hall. It's quiet, it's comfortable, and when you're done, just raise your hand and wait to be dismissed.

CLICK HERE to learn more about blood donation through the American Red Cross.

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