Phoenix-area teen on a mission inspiring others to donate blood amid shortage

A Phoenix-area teen is inspiring others by trying to get 2,022 blood donors.
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 9:14 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Pierce Liestenfeltz is making a difference in our community. He has teamed up with the Red Cross in a unique way as an effort to get more people to donate blood. This comes at a time of record-low blood donations right now.

The 17-year-old’s birthday is on June 14, which also happens to be World Blood Donor Day. Pierce has become passionate about donating blood and is on a mission to educate other teens.

“It’s really about once I tell people something then they tell someone else and it continues growing and growing and that’s what I’ve been saying and it just makes me feel proud about that,” Pierce said. “It goes along with the right to vote or getting a license, getting a job, or going to college. There are so many milestones in a young adults life and I think donating blood should be one of them.”

Pierce has a vision and is determined to make it happen. “We started off with a goal to get 2,022 blood donors and we are still working our way on that goal,” he said. “I feel like I’m changing the conversation for people my age.”

Pierce hopes to rebuild habits that may have been lost during the pandemic but also educate students his age that you can donate as soon as you turn 16, with parental consent.

Colin Williams with the Red Cross says only 3% of the population donates blood. As a result, the Red Cross declared a national blood shortage earlier this year, citing the worst shortage in a decade. “Every two seconds there is a need for blood in this country,” Williams said.

He says the Red Cross was impressed with Pierce’s vision and wanted to help. “People do need blood, and the more he can put a drop in the bucket now will help people in the future,” Williams said. “It’s not so often we see an individual, especially a young man, high school age come to us and say ‘I want to change the world and I want to help people, and I want to collect a lot of blood.’”

Pierce has created his very own website, One Arm at a Time. It lists upcoming blood drives and has a Q&A section and a countdown for his goal. “It feels good to be able to give out a part of you to someone else and do something good for the world,” he said.

Pierce has a blood drive this Sunday at the Via Linda Senior Center in Scottsdale; there are spots available. You can also go to the Red Cross website and use his sponsor code, OAT. This will add to his tally and give him credit toward his goal.