Giving blood becomes tradition for Oak Street Baptist

Published 9:33 am Tuesday, May 19, 2015

NW0519 Oak Street Blood Drive C

Volunteers rolled up their sleeves and lent a hand, or a vein, to help out others during an American Red Cross blood drive at Oak Street Baptist Church Monday afternoon.

The drive started during a time of family emergency for a former church member and has transformed into a tradition of community outreach for the church.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The church began hosting the blood drives after a former pastor’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, drive volunteer Treva Williams said. During treatments, the patient needed blood transfusions, and the family along with church members, decided to support the Red Cross by hosting blood drives.

“They saw the need was there, and they wanted to help out and do something about it,” Williams said. “It something we can do for the community. We enjoy it, and the donors have come to expect us to be here.”

Now, the church hosts a blood drive on the second Monday every other month. The consistency of the blood drives helps bring in donors, Red Cross Collection Supervisor Mark Ciptak said.

“It is convenient to have a location like this in the community,” Ciptak said. “Donors can come here and do not have to drive all the way to the center in Johnson City.”

Maynard Peters was one of the donors at the Oak Street blood drive. He has been giving blood for more than 30 years. For him, it is a simple way he can give back to the community.

“I do it for the love of my brothers,” Peters said. “I want to do something to help out, and it is the little I can do.”

Monday’s trip to the blood drive was the first in many months for Donna Williams. Williams had just been cleared to return as a blood donor after the birth of her son.

“I do this because I know many people need blood during medical emergencies,” Williams said. “I am lucky so far that I have not, but there are many that do. I know blood donations are much needed.”

Donor Recruitment Representative Gwen Hunter said more blood donations are needed in the summer months, because of a mix of steady need but lower supply.

“Vacations and summer activities often result in a decline in blood donations during the summer,” Hunter said. “In fact, during the months of June, July and August, about two fewer donors give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what patients need. If everyone donates one more time this summer than they usually do, the blood supply will be strong.”

By giving blood through the American Red Cross, donors support the entire mission of the Red Cross, Hunter said.

“190 times a day a family affected by a disaster is helped,” she said. “5,600 times a day someone receives a Red Cross unit of blood. 1,000 times a day Red Cross provides services to military members, veterans and their families. 25,000 times a day Red Cross teaches someone lifesaving skills like CPR. 424,000 times a day a child receives a measles vaccination from the Red Cross or its partners.”

The only requirements for blood donors is they be in good health, be at least 17 years old and weight at least 110 pounds.

The next Red Cross blood drives in Elizabethton will be June 17 at Elizabethton City Hall from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and at Oak Street Baptist Church on July 13 from 1:30 to 6 p.m.