Parsons Community Blood Drive to Honor Jerry Lilley

August 29, 2012

Wichita, Kan.—Aug. 29, 2012—With extreme heat keeping some donors at home and severe storms forcing the cancellation of dozens of blood drives earlier in the month, the American Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for donors of all blood types.

Make plans to give at the upcoming Parsons Community Blood Drive from Noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 29 or from 8 a.m. to Noon on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012 at the First Christian Church, 1500 S. 29th St, Parsons, Kan. Canteen items will be provided by Labette Health and Labette Health employees.

Public support from the organization’s late-June appeal helped temporarily stop a decline in the blood supply. However, the mid-week Independence Day and extreme summer weather have contributed to a decrease in donations lately.

“We cannot say ‘thank you’ enough to the blood donors who have already rolled up a sleeve this summer,” said Terri Dunaway, CEO of the Central Plains Blood Services Region. “We appreciate the support we’ve received from donors throughout Kansas and Northern Oklahoma. We’re encouraging all eligible donors who didn’t have a chance to give yet to step up and help patients by making an appointment, as well as those who gave earlier in the spring and are now eligible.”  

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. As the nation’s single largest supplier of blood and blood products, the Red Cross is dedicated to ensuring that every patient who needs a lifesaving transfusion is able to receive one. In fact, the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood each day to meet the needs of patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

A Lifetime of Caring Pays Off
Jerry Lilley spent almost 30 years taking care of people in Parsons, Kan., now it is the community’s turn to return the favor by rolling up a sleeve and giving blood at the Parsons Community Blood Drive in his honor.

Lilley and his family moved to Parsons in 1961, and he went to work at the Katy Railroad hospital. A few years later, he became the administrator at the newly established Labette County Medical Center, now Labette Health, where he worked until 1990. Then he and his wife Carolyn moved to Branson to help their son start a resort called Lilley’s Landing.

“One thing that made Jerry special was that his office was located on the main corridor of the hospital, and he had an open door policy,” said Stephen Miller, MD. “Anyone – doctors, nurses, visitors, housekeepers were welcome to stop by and visit with him anytime. This is how he kept a pulse on the needs of our community.”

In addition to working at the hospital, Lilley was active in his church and Rotary. He also worked with local doctors to establish a free clinic for people who needed healthcare, but couldn’t afford it. About three years ago, he helped do the very same thing in his new home of Branson.

About a year ago, Lilley went from being a hospital administrator to being the patient. Lilley was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and has been undergoing treatment since then and may be a candidate for a liver transplant. He also struggles with an undiagnosed blood disorder that causes him to need blood transfusions. Since February, he has received approximately 24 pints of blood.

“The first time I needed blood, I was very surprised,” said Lilley. “I was a blood donor for many years at the hospital in Parsons,” said Lilley. “I guess now it is my turn to receive blood!”

When Miller learned of Lilley’s fight against cancer, he wanted to help.

“I remember back to when my own father was having heart surgery in Kansas City, the editor at the Parson’s Sun and people of this community rallied to support him,” said Miller. When I found out Jerry needed blood, I called my brother Vince and told him we should have a blood drive in support of Jerry. Now, Erlene is making it happen.”

Lilley’s story highlights just how important each and every blood donation can be. He is alive today, because of blood donors. Consider giving blood in his honor on Aug. 29 or 30, 2012.

How to Donate Blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit 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 in Kansas with completed Parental Consent Form), 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 more than 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 or join our blog at


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