University of Georgia Graduate Student Wins $1,000 Gift Card from the American Red Cross

October 22, 2010

Pictured (l-r): Judy Hall, district manager, American Red Cross; Leanna Brown, promotion winner; Linda Rounds, donor recruitment representative, American Red Cross.Some people are into music. Others are into sports. Leanna Brown of Watkinsville, Ga., is into a lot of things: traveling, books and movies, the Atlanta Braves and the University of Georgia. She has devoted much of her life to church, 4H and working with students through the Etiquette and Leadership Institute in Athens, Ga. She’s also into helping save lives by donating blood, and thanks to that interest, she was recently named winner of a $1,000 gift card through the “What are YOU About?” promotion from the American Red Cross.

The “What are YOU About?” promotion was created in an effort to increase blood donations from high school and college aged donors during the challenging summer months when donations typically decrease. Presenting donors were eligible to enter for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card through the promotion, which resulted in more than 3,000 pints of blood and platelets and may have helped save as many as 9,000 lives.

Brown, a graduate student at the University of Georgia in Athens has already made plans for her winnings. She said that she plans to tithe a portion, buy something for herself and put the rest away. “I am excited and never thought I would be rewarded quite like this for doing such an easy thing.”

She said that she began donating blood as soon as she was eligible at age 16 due largely to her parents’ influence. She now regularly donates blood and platelets at the American Red Cross Blood Donation Center in Athens.

“It is such an easy way to help people and your community, and there are few good excuses not to give,” said Brown. “There is no downside to donating life.”

Every summer there is a dramatic decrease in blood donations, not only due to regular donors leaving for vacation but also because blood drives are not held at schools during summer break. The Red Cross obtains more than 20 percent of its blood donations from high school and college blood drives and has serious blood shortages whenever school is out.

While donations decline during the summer, the need for blood donations is constant. Most healthy people age 17 and older, or 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or visit to learn more about giving blood or platelets or to schedule an appointment to donate.