Baptists, Methodists to compete in blood drive

Holly Viers • Updated Oct 18, 2017 at 3:44 PM

KINGSPORT — Two Church Circle churches are gearing up for a little friendly competition next week at Marsh Regional Blood Center.

First Broad Street United Methodist Church and First Baptist Church of Kingsport will square off in a blood drive competition next Tuesday and Wednesday. At the end of the drive, the church with the most donors will be named the winner.

When and where will it be held?

The drive will be held Oct. 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Oct. 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Marsh Regional Blood Center, located at 111 W. Stone Drive, Ste. 300.

Who can give?

Jessi Nekuri, parish nurse at First Baptist Church, said anyone can participate in the blood drive competition, even if they are not members of either church. Donors simply need to state which church they would like to donate in honor of, and their donation will be recorded accordingly.

Why did they decide to make it a competition?

Joy Eastridge, parish nurse at First Broad Street United Methodist Church, said the idea behind the competition was to give people an extra incentive to donate blood.

“Healthy people who are eligible to give, we want to do what we can to encourage them to get out there and give,” Eastridge said. “So having a little competition can sometimes push us the extra step to go.”

Has the competition been held before?

Eastridge said the two churches held the competition for the first time a few years ago. First Baptist won that year, and Nekuri said she has the trophy from the win in her office.

This year, Eastridge said the blood drive will be held in honor of Tony Valk, a First Broad Street member who has been hospitalized in Texas due to a recent medical diagnosis.

“He was a regular donor at Marsh Regional, and now he is having to be on the receiving side,” Eastridge said. “So what a blessing it is to be able to give and to honor somebody like Tony.”

What is the goal for the competition?

Nekuri and Eastridge agree that the biggest goal of the blood drive is to cultivate lifelong donors.

“(Giving blood) is something easy we can do,” Nekuri said. “You can go anytime, sit down, give your blood and go about your day, and I think a lot of people forget that. So I think this will hopefully bring awareness to giving blood.”

Eastridge added that the competition is a win-win for everyone involved because it helps meet the consistent need for blood in the region.

“Even though we do this little competition, we’re all living into Jesus’ directive to lay down our lives for our friends,” Eastridge said. “When we give blood, we, in a very tangible way, lay down our lives for our friends. This is a way that we can live out our faith and benefit the community.”