Rotary Club helps boost blood supply with April 28 drive

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The positive impact of local blood donations goes far beyond cash prizes – but the chance of a reward takes a little of the sting out of the needle.

Kilgore Rotary Club and Pilgrim Lutheran Church will hosting their 19th quarterly blood drive from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28, and $500 is once again on the line.

Set once again at the 713 Florey St. church, if the drive collects 25 or more units of blood, three donors (and donor recruiters) will split the cash put up by Citizens Bank of Kilgore – $250, $150 and $100.

Appointments are preferred but walk-ins are welcome, the Rev. Jayson Galler says, whatever it takes to help increase the blood supply in East Texas.

“Can you please help people in need of blood in our communities?” the veteran donor, Rotarian and drive-coordinator asked in a recent plea for donations.

The civic club and congregation are once again working with The Blood Center East Texas, welcoming any eligible donors of any blood type to make a contribution.

Some things to know, per Galler:

In general, eligible donors have an official photo ID, are at least 16 years old (a parental-consent form is available online at PilgrimLC.org; there is no upper age limit), are in good general health and feel well that day, 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 supporters cannot donate, they can boost 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 to 10 minutes.

Whole-blood donors generally are eligible to donate every two months (once every 56 days).

“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,” Galler writes at PilgrimLC.org. “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.”

If the upcoming drive does not reach the top-prize goal of 25 units, a $25 cash prize will be awarded to a randomly-selected participant.

For more information or to reserve a donation time April 28, visit PilgrimLC.org/BloodDrive or call 903-984-4333.

– By JAMES DRAPER

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