2nd annual blood drive set to remember Dana and Sara Keeling

Published 4:52 pm Friday, December 8, 2017

For the second year in a row, residents are encouraged to give back to remember the lives of two late Carter County residents.
Preparation continues for the second annual blood drive to remember Dana and Sara Keeling. The blood drive is scheduled to take place Saturday, Dec. 23, at Hunter First Baptist Church from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Having the ability to host the drive for a second consecutive year is exciting, according to Emma Grindstaff. Grindstaff is the mother and grandmother of the Keelings, who lost their lives last year in a house fire on Pine Ridge Circle.
With the drive just days away, Grindstaff has thanked the efforts of everyone involved, including the American Red Cross — the sponsor of the event.
Last year’s event also surpassed expectations.
“I’m so excited,” Grindstaff told the Elizabethton Star after last year’s event. “The community is wonderful. The amount of people that are coming out is amazing. People didn’t even know the girls but we have people here that want to give back in their honor and use this as a way to give back to possibly save someone’s life. I just don’t know what to say, I’m so excited.”
The inaugural drive was held at Unaka High School, Dana’s school of graduation.
Having the drive helps remember Dana due to the fact that she was hoping to be a phlebotomist, Grindstaff said. Dana and Sara both were organ donors, and were able to help lives of a handful of individuals following their passing.
Over the past two months, Grindstaff and family members were able to remember the lives of Dana and Sara with special balloon release ceremonies at their gravesite. While the months have been tough, Grindstaff recently added she’s grateful for the support and to see Dana and Sara continue to be remembered for their impact within the community.
To make an appointment for the drive, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-733-2767.

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