PUPILS in schools throughout the country are being encouraged to roll up their sleeves and give blood.
According to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS), the most frequent donor age has risen over the past four years from 23 to 29, and fewer young people than ever are giving blood.
As a result, the IBTS has developed a 'Give Blood' awareness pack which is aimed at educating second-level students about the importance of giving blood.
RTE star Mary Kennedy, who is a former school teacher, launched the initiative at Loreto College, St Stephen's Green, Dublin yesterday.
The pack includes a DVD that takes pupils through the donation process and features a young blood donor and recipient who share their personal experiences.
Discussion topics are also included, along with a quiz to get students involved and to get them to start talking about blood donation.
"We are committed to educating and encouraging teenagers to start giving blood once they turn 18 and hope that this pack will inspire teachers and students alike to make blood donation the habit of a lifetime," said IBTS marketing executive Clare MacDermott.
IBTS representatives will also visit schools on request to give presentations to students on the topic.