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Knoxville girl is organizing blood drive at her church

South County resident Barnhart says event will be held in honor of two local cancer patients

South County resident Barnhart says event will be held in honor of two local cancer patients

May 05, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

KNOXVILLE -- Kendra Barnhart is a high school senior juggling final exams with a part-time job, but over the past few weeks, the 17-year-old South County resident has found time in her busy schedule for a worthy extracurricular: saving lives.

Barnhart is organizing a Red Cross blood drive Saturday at her church, Valley Grace Brethren, south of Hagerstown, as part of a Red Cross scholarship program. She said the drive is being held to honor and support two local cancer patients, Terri Tucker of Big Pool and Darlene Householder of Hagerstown.

Tucker, who teaches Bible studies for the church's Girls of Grace program, was diagnosed with leukemia before Christmas, Barnhart said. Householder, Barnhart's cousin, was diagnosed with lymphoma late last year. Both are undergoing their second rounds of chemotherapy, she said.

"It really opens your eyes that it can happen to anyone," Barnhart said of the initial shock of having two people she knew diagnosed within a short time span. She said both women took the news bravely and are responding well to treatment.

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"They're both really high-spirited," Barnhart said.

Barnhart said she got the idea to coordinate a blood drive from a friend who organized one as part of the scholarship program. The Red Cross awards varying levels of scholarship money to student organizers based on the amount of blood collected, Barnhart said. She plans to use her scholarship money to help pay for her tuition at Kaplan College, where she will be studying accounting beginning in the fall.

But Barnhart said she wants to keep the focus of the event on saving lives and honoring cancer patients.

"I don't want it to be about me," she said. "I want them to be more doing it for (Tucker and Householder) because they're great people."

Barnhart has been working on the blood drive for several months, but she said the past few weeks have been the most labor-intensive. Her responsibilities have included securing the space, contacting businesses to ask for donations, making posters, advertising, sending out appointment cards, and making sure all the snacks, drinks and other canteen supplies get to the church.

Many businesses were eager to support the effort, Barnhart said. South County Backhoe, Martin's, Weis of Boonsboro, Target, Food Lion, CiCi's Pizza, Chick-fil-A and Pizza Hut have all made donations, she said.

So far, about 40 people have signed up to donate, but Barnhart hopes to get at least 100.

"There's so many people who need blood," she said.

If you go



What: Red Cross blood drive

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 10

Where: Fellowship Hall, Valley Grace Brethren Church, 17312 Gay St., Hagerstown

Blood donors must weigh at least 105 pounds and be at least 17 years old, or 16 with parental consent. A free bone marrow scan also will be available.

Organizers encourage donors to register by calling 301-432-5626 to ensure sufficient staffing and supplies.

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