When the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks devasted the United States, people in the Appalachian Highlands stepped forward – and rolled up their sleeves – to help.
In memory of that event, and in honor of the lives lost, Marsh Regional Blood Center will hold its annual Patriot Day Blood Drive on Wednesday, Sept. 11, from 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. at Bristol Motor Speedway. The drive, always an emotionally charged event, takes on extra poignance this year, as donors will give in a mobile blood unit named for one of the landmarks destroyed in 2001, and they will also receive a card bearing the name of someone who lost their life that day.
“In the days and weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, people turned out in droves to give blood – they knew it was one thing they could do right then that would help,” said Don Campbell, director of Marsh Regional. “In honor of that selflessness, we’ve held the Patriot Day Blood Drive for 14 years, so people in our region can once again honor that day, give blood and save lives.”
The first 100 donors at the Patriot Day Blood Drive will receive a gift bag, and all donors will receive a complimentary memorial T-shirt. Track tours and pace laps will also be available for donors on a first-come, first-serve basis from 10 a.m.-noon.
“Bristol Motor Speedway has been an incredible partner in the Patriot Day drive,” Campbell said. “The team there recognizes the significance of this day and this blood drive, and they really go above and beyond to ensure its success.”
Campbell estimates several hundred units are donated each year at the Patriot Day Blood Drive, and as each unit can save up to three lives, the event has the potential to impact thousands of local lives.
Marsh Regional supplies blood to 28 regional medical facilities, all regional cancer centers and five air rescue bases in Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky. Healthcare facilities that rely on Marsh Regional for blood and blood products include: Bristol Regional Medical Center, Buchanan General Hospital, Clinch Valley Medical Center, Dickenson Community Hospital, Encompass Health, Franklin Woods Community Hospital, Greeneville Community Hospital East, Greeneville Community Hospital West, Hancock County Hospital, Hawkins County Memorial Hospital, HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Holston Valley Medical Center, Indian Path Community Hospital, James H. Quillen VA Healthcare System, Johnson City Medical Center, Johnson County Community Hospital, Johnston Memorial Hospital, Lonesome Pine Hospital, Mountain View Regional Hospital, Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Norton Community Hospital, The Rehabilitation Hospital of Southwest Virginia, Russell County Hospital, Select Specialty Hospital, Smyth County Community Hospital, Sycamore Shoals Hospital, Tazewell Community Hospital and Unicoi County Hospital.
Donors with O-negative blood types are particularly welcome, as their blood can be used for any patient.
To give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. People with a cold, sore throat, fever, flu or fever blisters or who are taking antibiotics may not donate. Donors should eat a balanced meal before giving blood.
In addition to the Patriot Day Blood Drive, donors are welcome at Marsh Regional’s collection centers: 111 W. Stone Drive, Suite 300, Kingsport; 2428 Knob Creek Road, Johnson City; and 1996 W. State St., Bristol.
For more information about blood donation, or to schedule a blood drive, please call 423-408-7500, 423-652-0014 or 276-679-4669 or visit www.marshblood.com.