Club, church organize April Fool's Day blood drive

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Pilgrim Lutheran Church and the Rotary Club of Kilgore, in connection with The Blood Center East Texas, are hosting their 15th quarterly community blood drive from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at 713 Florey Street in Kilgore.

All those eligible, of any blood type, may donate; walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are recommended. To schedule an appointment log on to www.tinyurl.com/KilgoreDrive040117.

If the drive collects 25 units or more, donors or donor-recruiters drawn at random will receive a total of $400 in cash prizes, thanks to Citizens Bank of Kilgore.

In general, eligible donors have an official photo ID and are at least 16 years-old (a parental-consent form is available at ww.pilgrimlc.org/blooddrive). There is no upper age limit. Donors are in good general health, feel well the day of the donation, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, and are not temporarily or permanently disqualified for other reasons.

(Rules change, so a donor previously ineligible may now be eligible. To check eligibility before the drive, call 877-482-5663 or 713-790-1200 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.)

Even if a person cannot donate, he or she can support the drive in other ways, such as by encouraging others who can donate to do so. On average, donating takes less than 1 hour for the whole process, with the actual donation taking only 6-10 minutes.

As even the Bible says, life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). A single donation, in fact, can save three lives.

There is no reason to be afraid of donating: the process is safe (for example, you cannot get AIDS or any other disease from giving blood). In addition to a good feeling from contributing to the community, donors can be rewarded with points that can be redeemed or saved. (Learn more at CommitforLife.org)

There is a regular need for blood in East Texas, and the different blood collection agencies that work in our region share resources across their usual boundaries after a major event or when a specific type is low. On average, there are not enough donors to meet daily needs. Given such short supply, blood is typically transfused within 36 to 72 hours of being donated.

This particular drive makes donating more convenient for those in Kilgore. The closest collection centers are in Tyler and Longview. Mobile drives are held in Kilgore somewhat regularly for certain groups and as needed for the public,  but the community had not previously had a regular community drive open to the general public.

The Pilgrim congregation and the Rotary Club are hosting such a community drive once every three months, so Kilgore donors, by coming to each drive, can easily donate four times per year.  Whole-blood donors generally are eligible to donate every two months (once every 56 days).

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