When Miss Gamecock 2020 Callie Farrell began competing in pageants, she had to choose a service platform dear to her heart.

"I had to pick a platform I was passionate about and I wanted to do something different," Farrell said. "I had a connection to blood donations because I am O negative which is the universal blood donor type. This made me go donate blood every eight weeks which was as often as you could do it."

She added that she volunteered with blood drives in high school and has always encouraged her friends to give blood.

Farrell will host her first blood drive Jan. 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the American Red Cross Donation Center on Columbia's Bull Street. She will host the drive through Leaders Save Lives, a program created by the American Red Cross offering scholarship funds to students who host community-wide blood drives.

Those interested in donating blood must be 18 years or older to donate without a parent present. Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds. Those who have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to refrain from attending the event.

Each blood donation comes with a free antibodies test, which tells donors their blood type and whether there are COVID antibodies in the donor's blood.

"This is open to everyone," Farrell said. "I have a goal of 35 people, and so far I have people I don't know at all who have signed up for my blood drive, which is awesome."

Farrell plans to host an additional blood drive before the Miss South Carolina pageant in June 2021. 

Contact missgamecock2020@gmail.com for additional information.

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