By CHERIL VERNON
For those wanting to donate blood due to the fertilizer plant explosion in West, a number of blood drives will be held in Palestine and Grapeland this weekend and next week.
Westwood High School’s National Honor Society was already planning to host a Carter BloodCare blood drive from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, before the tragedy even happened. The drive will be held in the WHS drama lab.
“We would like to encourage everyone from Palestine to support the blood drive to help those from the West explosion,” WHS NHS Sponsor Tamisha Michalewicz told the Herald-Press Thursday.
The Grapeland Fire Department & EMS called Carter BloodCare on Thursday to set up a blood drive, wanting to help in any way they could.
“It could be our community, that’s why we need to help support them,” Grapeland Fire Department EMS Chief Chastity LeBlanc said Thursday.
The Grapeland Fire Department and EMS blood drive will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday in the fire department’s parking lot located at 126 S. Oak St. in Grapeland, across from the Grapeland Post Office.
“We also are going to be accepting donations for West from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday and from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday,” LeBlanc said.
Other upcoming blood drives include:
• Monday — Palestine’s recurring blood drive is held from 2 to 7 p.m. each Monday in the Tractor Supply parking lot at 2200 S. Loop 256.
• Tuesday — Vulcraft, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., north main exit off U.S. 287 South, Grapeland.
• Wednesday — Palestine Regional Medical Center, Senior Friends Room, 2900 S. Loop 256, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“The blood drive has been scheduled for several months. We try to do them every three to four months. However, in light of the recent tragedy at West, it is more important than ever to donate,” PRMC marketing coordinator Meredith Mahan said Thursday.
Potential blood donors can volunteer beginning at age 16 with a parent’s consent, and 17-year-olds can give independently. There is no upper age limit for giving. All donors must weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good general health and present a photo identification each time they donate. It’s also a good idea to eat a nutritious meal and drink plenty of water before giving blood.
“Because of North, Central and East Texas blood donors who give often, our blood supply was strong when the need arose in McLennan County. As a result, Carter BloodCare was able to help supply the local hospitals in need,” a Carter BloodCare news release said Thursday. “Because blood has a shelf-life, we are asking the community to make an appointment to give blood today, rather going out to donate blood today. This assures that the blood supplies in the future as strong as they are today.”
Carter BloodCare is encouraging the public to give blood year-round.
“While blood donors are appreciated at this time, Carter BloodCare would like to remind the community that the need for blood is also great during the upcoming summer months. By giving blood year-round, donors assure that Carter BloodCare can continue to meet the needs of community patient,” the news release continued.
For those wanting to give, schedule a future appointment at a Donor Center nearest you by visiting http://www.carterbloodcare.org/ or by calling 1-800-366-2834. If your organization is interested in hosting a blood drive please email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Giving during a crisis is a good thing. Giving often throughout the year is a great thing,” the Carter BloodCare news release said. “Our thoughts are with our Central Texas neighbors, staff and community partners today following the tragedy in West last evening. Since the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, we can confirm that the blood supply needs for area hospitals have been met for today.”
For more information about donor eligibility and to make an appointment, call Carter BloodCare at 1-800-366-2834 or visit carterbloodcare.org.