Earning a Scholarship for Helping Save Lives: Allyson’s Story

Getting involved helped Allyson Gillette get some help for college.

Allyson was looking for volunteer opportunities and decided to host an American Red Cross blood drive in Chillicothe, Illinois last December. She earned a $1,000 scholarship as a result of her lifesaving efforts.

As part of the Red Cross Leaders Save Lives program, the senior at Illinois Valley Central helped collect 33 blood donations. Allyson was entered into a drawing for a scholarship and was chosen as a winner.

The continual need for blood donations inspired Allyson to host the blood drive.

“I would absolutely encourage any student to host a blood drive. This experience was very rewarding and there is truly no greater feeling than knowing you are saving lives.”
-Allyson Gillette


Allyson is set to graduate high school in May 2023. She plans to attend college and major in nursing.

“I was very excited to be informed that my blood drive was selected as one of the scholarship winners,” Allyson said. “I am very thankful to the American Red Cross for the opportunity to host a blood drive and be rewarded with the scholarship!”

The Leaders Save Lives program encourages community-minded high school and college students to host blood drives to help maintain the blood supply for patients in need of lifesaving transfusions.

Students can sign up to host blood drives and potentially qualify to earn a scholarship during seasonal timeframes throughout the year. Visit RedCrossBlood.org/LeadersSaveLives for more information.

Here is how the program works:

– Sign up to host a blood drive while school is out of session.
– Form a recruitment committee to help make your blood drive a success.
– Recruit your friends, family and the community to donate at your blood drive.
– Collect 25 pints or more at your blood drive and you will earn a gift card and be entered to win a scholarship!

Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 800-RED CROSS to make an appointment. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Thank you for rolling up a sleeve!

Written by Illinois Region Communications Manager Brian Williamsen

Making the Most of His Time: Kaleb Hall

“I feel like it’s good to always help people. If you help people, they’re going to end up helping someone else, and it’s just like a cycle of helping people.”
-Kaleb Hall

Kaleb Hall is a high school senior in Decatur, Illinois. He volunteers for the American Red Cross in the South Central Illinois chapter of the Illinois region.

Having completed the necessary credits to graduate, Kaleb has extra time during this semester and wanted to devote it to doing something productive.

“I only have two classes and get out of school early, so I have more time. I wanted to volunteer my time, instead of just sitting at home watching TV,” Kaleb says. “I have a whole semester of free time, so I am going to be doing this a lot.”

Kaleb’s father, Xavier inspired him to get involved with the Red Cross. Xavier served on the disaster team, installing smoke alarms and performing other tasks as a volunteer.

Recently, Kaleb served as a blood donor ambassador at a Red Cross blood drive in Decatur. He helped sign blood donors in as they arrived for their appointments, provided them with helpful information and answered questions.

Kaleb enjoyed the assignment and is looking forward to getting involved even further, in the weeks and months ahead.

“Everybody is nice, it’s a good environment. There are a lot of options,” he says.

Thank you, Kaleb for choosing to give your time and serve as a Red Cross volunteer! To join Kaleb as a volunteer, visit redcross.org/volunteer.

Written by Illinois Region Communications Manager Brian Williamsen