Chanute Drive to Honor Blood Donor and Raise Awareness About People Who Can Give

April 13, 2011

News Release

Media Contact:Jennifer L. Keller - (316) 268-0853 / Cell: (316) 558-2428
E-Contact Info:, @JenniferLKeller, @RedCrossBloodKS          
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Wichita, Kan. – April 13, 2011 –The American Red Cross Blood Services – Central Plains Region will host a special community blood drive on April 25-26, 2011 in honor of Ray Marts, an unlikely blood donor.

Like hundreds of people across Kansas, Marts has depended on blood products to live. This past November, he traveled to Wichita, Kan. for a routine stress test. But, he ended up requiring open heart surgery.

“During that heart surgery, I needed a couple of blood transfusions,” said Marts. “I’m fortunate to have that behind me.”

In recent years, Marts has had both hips replaced and survived prostate cancer. Most recently, he underwent open heart surgery. Now, he is feeling good, and eager to return the favor when he is able to donate blood again. But Marts wasn’t always a blood donor.

An Unlikely Donor:
In October 2009, Marts gave his wife a ride to the Chanute Community Blood Drive, and as fate would have it he became a blood donor for the first time that fall day.

“I’d just been through prostate cancer, so I thought that I couldn’t ever donate blood,” said Marts. “I remember a nice lady from the Red Cross asking me if I had come to donate and I said, ‘no ma’am, I don’t believe I can.’” But, according to Marts, the staffer went on to explain that Red Cross has a one-year deferral for people with prostate cancer, so he went from being blood recipient to a blood donor.

“Most people are surprised to learn that even though they’ve had certain types of cancer, are on medication or have diabetes, they can still donate blood,” said John Brand, director of collections. “People shouldn’t automatically assume that they can’t donate blood,” added Brand. “It’s best if people attend their community drive and find out if they are eligible."

“I’ve given seven pints so far, and plan to get back to giving as soon as I’m able,” said Marts.

The Chanute Blood Drive in Honor of Roy Marts will be held Monday, April 25 from 1 to 7 p.m. and Tuesday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to 1p.m. at the Central Park Pavilion, 101 S. Forest, in Chanute.

Learn more about giving blood or make your appointment today by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit All blood types are needed to ensure the Red Cross maintains an adequate blood supply. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Donors must be in general good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent).

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation’s blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. Red Cross is a charity, not a government agency and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the public to perform its humanitarian mission.

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