“You just don’t know how good it feels when you are laying in a hospital and see that unit of blood coming through the door. Giving blood is the most wonderful thing you can do, everyone can try. The recipient can’t duplicate the gift they have received…the gift of life.” – Quen Taylor
The 14th Annual Quen Taylor Blood Drive is one of Kernersville’s longest standing and largest blood drives, and organizers hope the community turns out to honor the words of the late Quen Taylor.
“This is one of the biggest things we do here in the community,” said Christine Duvall, branch manager of Bank of North Carolina, a founding sponsor of the blood drive. “It is an easy way to help save lives. You may never know when you’re going to need blood, and it is important to keep this drive going and that the people know it’s happening. It’s also important for the family to keep Quen’s name alive and all the work he did.”
Taylor passed away in 2001, but left a legacy that lives on today, especially regarding just how important it is to give blood.
Taylor was known as the “voice” of Wake Forest University (WFU) basketball and football, where he was an announcer for 27 years. He was diagnosed with acute leukemia in 1998. Due to the severity of the leukemia, he sometimes needed to receive four or five pints of blood a day through blood transfusions.
Despite his condition, Taylor never let it detract from his love of covering WFU games. In fact, he was even known by friends and family to convince his doctors to allow him to leave the hospital to cover a game and then return in time to finish a treatment.
Kernersville resident Wayne Mabe counted himself among Taylor’s friends. During a visit to Taylor in the hospital, Mabe asked him if there was anything he could do. Taylor replied, “Make sure people keep giving blood.”
“Quen always said people didn’t really know what it was like to see a nurse bring in a unit of blood for transfusions because he felt it was the unit of life,” Mabe said. “So he encouraged me to make sure people give blood.”
That’s exactly what Mabe decided to do, organizing the first memorial blood drive in Taylor’s honor not long before his friend’s passing in 2001. In the years since, hundreds have continued to support the annual effort, with almost 2,000 units of blood collected over the last 14 years.
This year’s blood drive will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Kernersville, located at 401 Oakhurst St. Its arrival couldn’t come soon enough for the American Red Cross.
On July 25, the Red Cross announced it is facing a looming blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all types to roll up a sleeve and give. Nationally, donations were down about eight percent over the last three months, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than expected, said a spokesman for the organization.
Platelet donors and blood donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially needed. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.
With schools out of session and many regular donors busy or on vacation, it’s important to remember that patients don’t get a break from needing blood — the need is constant.
Donations during last year’s blood drive were down from about 175 in 2012 to 132 pints in 2013. Duvall said that this year, the drive hopes to collect between 130 and 140 pints, but in year’s past that number has been well over 200 pints.
Duvall encourages anyone planning to attend the blood drive to call and schedule an appointment. Appointments can be made by calling (336) 996-1776.
All presenting donors will receive two free tickets to either a WFU basketball or football game. There will also be drawings for two $50 Visa cards, with one taking place during the morning hours and another in the afternoon.