MASH BASH planned for Marshall and Carthage during chronically-severe blood shortage | News
Marshall and Carthage will be coming together to see who can do the most good next week during the annual Mash Bash two-day blood drive competition between the two towns.
In Marshall, the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce, KMHT Radio, and the city of Marshall will be hosting a two-day drive. In Carthage, First Baptist Carthage and KGAS Radio will also be hosting a drive.
What’s on the line? The community with the most blood donations on its behalf wins bragging rights for a year.
“This year, it’s a little bit less about the competition, and a little bit more about all of us coming together,” said Linda Goelzer, with Carter Bloodcare. “We are in desperate need right now for donations.”
The Marshall blood drive will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 7 and Thursday, July 8 at 2501 East End Boulevard S. in the Marshall Convention Center. For more information or to schedule an appointment time, contact Kim Brown at (903) 935-7868.
For Carthage blood drive is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 7 and Thursday, July 8 at 256 S. Market St. in the activity building of First Baptist Church. For more information or to schedule an appointment time, contact David Yarbrough at (903) 693-3569.
Appointments are encouraged. Donors can complete the medical history questionnaire online on the day of donation, before arriving to give blood. If donors had a COVID-19 vaccination, they are still eligible to donate blood.
There will also be door prizes every hour at each location for items donated by local businesses in each town.
“We are hitting critical low levels of blood right now, and the problem is this is a national shortage,” Goelzer said. “These are the lowest levels we have seen in 30 years.”
Goelzer explained that it is a combination of bad circumstances that have made East Texas particularly vulnerable to this shortage. With COVID-19 making it harder for blood centers to collect blood, and host blood drives throughout 2020, the entire country is already struggling with lower than average supplies.
Additionally, the winter storm that struck the area in February of this year left blood donation centers unable to collect donations for a week, adding to already drastic need for blood in the area.
“Usually when we have a natural disaster, or anything that causes a spike in need for blood in a certain area, other hospitals and blood centers will donate what they can to help with the supply,” Goelzer said. “However, this is a national problem, all of the blood centers are short, so that can’t happen.”
With turn out numbers for this annual event dropping from the last few years, Goelzer said that she hoping to see a large wave of community support in 2021, to help prevent the potentially devastating consequences of not having available blood supply.
She said that Carter Bloodcare is the blood provider in the East Texas area, and that their donations will be used to directly support members of that community who need donations.
These could include people who have sickle cell disease, mothers who have birth complications and their newborns, orthopedic surgery, cancer patients and much more.
“A lot of people think that blood donation is only for those who get in severe car accidents, when in reality that only makes up around 2 percent of blood used,” Goelzer said.
She added that a key reason people cite for not donating blood is because no one asked them to do so, with thousands of qualified people never being invited to give blood. Carter BloodCare asks community members this year to come on out to donate and bring family or friends, neighbors or workout buddies.
Individuals who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear a face mask at Carter BloodCare blood drives or donation centers. Donors who are not fully vaccinated are asked to continue wearing a mask except when temperature is taken, or when eating and drinking after the donation. Carter BloodCare complies with all mask policies and will not require proof of vaccination.
Potential blood donors may volunteer at age 16 with parental consent; 17-year-olds can give independently and there is no upper age limit. For more information on donor eligibility and to make an appointment, call 1-800-366-2834 or visit carterbloodcare.org.