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Church completes fourth blood drive

WTC Blood Drive Photo.jpg

The Medical Emergency Response Team of Word Tabernacle Church recently completed its fourth blood drive.

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From Contributed Reports

Sunday, June 24, 2018

In partnership with the American Red Cross, the Medical Emergency Response Team of Word Tabernacle Church, also known as MERT, recently completed its fourth blood drive.

Kristin Sawyer, a district manager for the American Red Cross, made a special appearance during both worship services to share her testimony of how her sister and generous blood donors saved her life.

The American Red Cross is the nation’s largest blood collection organization, supplying about 40 percent of the blood and blood products in the country. Blood cannot be made or duplicated. Blood must be given, which is why donors are so significant.

To that end, the Medical Emergency Response Team of Word Tabernacle Church has been on a mission to raise awareness about the power and purpose of giving blood and to help reduce blood supply shortages. Blood donation facts and emphasis on giving blood were communicated during church-wide phone calls and e-mail blasts in preparation for the drive.

Statistics show that every two seconds a person needs blood in the United States and one out of every seven people admitted into the hospital will need blood.

Sawyer made the power and purpose of giving blood more real with her touching testimony during Word Tabernacle Church’s worship services.

Senior pastor the Rev. James Gailliard said he met Sawyer at a community event and “was moved to tears by her testimony.”

“I felt the congregation needed to hear her story and why it’s so important to donate blood if medically able,” he said.

Sawyer said that she was 23 years old and had not long graduated from East Carolina University when her life changed.

“A routine physical and pricked finger turned into questionable bloodwork and more screenings,” she said

Sawyer was first suspected of having leukemia but was later diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare blood disorder of which two out of a million people are affected.

“During the stages of my diagnosis, I received five blood transfusions initially, a bone marrow transplant and 11 million stem cells from my sister, which is a 20 percent chance of sibling match, and needed 100 units of blood to live daily,” she said.

Sawyer recalled her body trying to reject her sibling’s transplant and was told by doctors that she would not be able to have children.

“The doctors said I couldn’t, but God said I could,” she said, as she acknowledged her husband and two children as “miracles” and thanked donors.

“We’re not just talking about people thriving. We’re being about our Father’s work to help save and change lives,” MERT Minsitry Leader Shelley Hendricks said. “We exceeded our goal by collecting 49 units, which is equivalent to 147 lives saved and are hoping to do so again with the upcoming drive.”

The MERT Ministry will host the next blood drive from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. today in the gym of The Impact Center at 821 Word Plaza. To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-733-2767.

For more information and upcoming events planned by the Medical Emergency Response Team of Word Tabernacle Church, visit www.wordtab.net, email administration@wordtab.net or call 252-442-2925.

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