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Marsh Regional, ETSU team up to find heroes, save lives with Marsh Madness blood drive

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Marsh Regional, ETSU team up to find heroes, save lives with Marsh Madness blood drive

Marsh Regional Blood Center is looking for heroes at East Tennessee State University next week, with a special Marsh Madness blood drive.

The drive will take place on the second floor of the D.P. Culp Student Center from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, March 22. Donors will receive a Marsh Madness T-shirt and ETSU Sili-Pint while supplies last. The drive is open to all community members.

“The ETSU community is always eager to give back and support our region, and giving blood is an invaluable way to do that,” said ETSU President Brian Noland. “I encourage every member of our ETSU family to step up to the plate through donating blood – each donation helps save local lives, and ETSU is proud to contribute to that.”

To help ensure novel coronavirus (COVID-19) physical distancing and infection prevention measures, Marsh Regional and ETSU strongly encourage potential donors to make an appointment to give. Interested donors can call 423-957-6248 or email maci.andrews@balladhealth.org to make an appointment. Walk-ins will be accommodated as available.

Donors are required to wear a cloth face covering like a homemade mask, bandana or buff at all times while they are in collection centers or on mobile units. Marsh Regional will have face coverings on hand for donors who do not have one.

“We are always in need of blood donations, now more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Marsh Regional director Steffanie Sukel said. “Giving blood is the ultimate act of selflessness – one donation could save up to three lives, and all it costs is a little time.”

Marsh Regional supplies blood to 28 medical facilities and five air rescue bases in Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky. Sukel said the center also has a significant need of platelet donations, which are commonly used to treat cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

While donors won’t be able to give platelets during the ETSU blood drive, they will be able to opt for a test to see if they qualify for platelet donation at a later date.

“We encourage anyone who is able to give to come out and donate,” Sukel said. “If donors are unable to donate at this drive, we have plenty of opportunities for donation throughout the month of March and at our regular blood donation centers.“You never know whose life you could save with a donation.”

The blood drive is the latest joint effort between Ballad Health and ETSU to improve health in the Appalachian Highlands. In early March, the health system announced the new Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network, which features an enhanced partnership between the two organizations, with Niswonger Children’s Hospital now powered by ETSU Health. Additionally, Ballad Health is the official healthcare provider of ETSU Athletics, serving dozens of scholar-athletes in the very location as the March 22 blood drive.

Marsh Regional is also furthering its connection to local educational institutions through its Save the Summer and Holiday Hero scholarship programs. Colleges that collect more than 500 donations throughout the school year qualify for a guaranteed $1,000 student scholarship. To be eligible, students must have made a donation or had a donation in their honor at a Marsh Regional blood drive or Marsh Regional collection center.

Additionally, students who organize and conduct their own blood drives during the summer can be eligible for $500 in scholarships. Interested students can work with a recruiter to choose a blood drive location in their community or at one of the Marsh locations in Kingsport, Johnson City or Bristol. A recruiter will help the student set up the drive and rally their community to attend.

To give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. People with a cold, sore throat, fever, flu or fever blisters or people taking antibiotics are not eligible to donate. Donors should eat a balanced meal before giving blood.

Those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine should wait at least 48 hours before making a blood, platelet or plasma donation. Additionally, Marsh Regional has updated its donor eligibility guidelines to reflect new federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, and potential donors should call 423-408-7500 to be pre-screened for eligibility.

In addition to blood drive at ETSU and upcoming mobile blood drives, 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.

An appointment is required before giving blood at any blood center – donors should call 423-408-7500, 423-652-0014 or 423-282-7090 or visit Marsh Regional Blood Center for more information about appointments or to schedule a blood drive at a local business, church, school or community organization. Same-day blood donation appointments are frequently available.

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