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Carthage church hosts blood drive in memory of Rich Walker

Greater Ozarks-Arkansas

February 7, 2014
 

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Carthage community can help save lives during National Heart Health Awareness Month in memory of Missouri native, Rich Walker during a blood drive scheduled for Feb. 20. The Church of the Nazarene is partnering with the American Red Cross to host the drive in memory of Walker who died suddenly from undiagnosed heart disease in September 2013 at the age of 49.

Walker was a 1982 graduate at Carthage High School and a 1986 graduate of Missouri Southern State University. He worked with Walmart for 29 years and retired as a district manager. And, until his death, Walker worked for Microsoft as Director of U.S. Operations. He was a member of RockPointe Church in Flower Mound, Texas.

“Rich knew so many people and had so many friends that he had helped that I never really knew about,” his mother Barbara Russell said. “At his funeral, nearly every person I saw had a story to tell of how he had reached out to help them in some way. A blood drive to continue helping others seemed like a good way to honor my son.”

Give blood in memory of Rich Walker:

Thursday, Feb. 20 from 1-6 p.m. at Church of the Nazarene, 2000 Grand, Carthage, Mo.                

Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as donations are coming in. Donors with all blood types are needed to help ensure a stocked blood supply, especially donors with types O positive and negative, B negative and A negative.

In January, winter weather and freezing temperatures forced the Red Cross to cancel more than 770 blood drives, resulting in about 25,000 donations going uncollected. The Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints a day to meet patient needs. January’s loss is the equivalent of the nationwide Red Cross system shutting down operations for more than an entire day.

“When patients find themselves in need of blood, whether for treating chronic illnesses or in a sudden emergency, it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives,” said Scott Caswell, CEO for the Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Region. “Like a hospital emergency room, the Red Cross must be prepared to serve patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We need the community’s help to do that.”

Someone in America needs a blood transfusion approximately every two seconds. Blood products can be used in treating traumatic accident victims, cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, premature babies and those with blood disorders. One blood donation can help save up to three lives.

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.