CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Thousands of potential blood donors who previously could not donate can now roll up their sleeves thanks to the lifting of a decades-long FDA restriction.

Anyone who traveled to or lived in Europe for more than five months in the 1980s and 90s were automatically disqualified someone from giving blood in the U.S. thanks to Mad Cow Disease. It meant that people who donated blood regularly suddenly had to stop.

Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen, Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Reitz and Visit Champaign CEO Jayne DeLuce were among those people.

“I donated previously and was shocked to learn when I couldn’t anymore that I wasn’t allowed to,” Feinen said.

Recently, the FDA announced they were lifting that restriction, allowing at least 5,000 people in ImpactLife’s region to donate blood when they previously couldn’t. Feinen, Reitz and DeLuce were ecstatic to hear the news they could donate again.

“There have been times along the way where we’ve had friends or even nonprofits who’ve had blood drives and haven’t been able to participate,” Feinen said. “So, you know, now I’ll be able to.”

“I immediately wanted to come down and donate,” Reitz said.

“Just that opportunity of being able to do it and help other people is pretty incredible,” DeLuce said.

The trio even gave themselves a name to mark the exciting occasion: the Mad Cow Three. They said anyone is welcome to join the club.

ImpactLife hopes that the lifting of this restriction will help them fill blood banks when they need to the most.