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Thursday, Jul 14, 2022

Win a free hot-air balloon ride by donating blood during Fun Fest

Marsh Regional Blood Center will be sending one lucky winner on a hot-air balloon adventure next weekend as part of its Fun Fest blood drives.

All donors who give blood or platelets at Marsh Regional’s Kingsport donor center between July 15-21 will be eligible to win a hot-air balloon ride during the festival’s annual Hot Air Balloon Rally on Saturday, July 23. Donors will also receive an exclusive Fun Fest Hot Air Balloon Rally T-shirt and a snack after giving blood.

“We look forward to Fun Fest every year because it gives community members a great chance to come out and support their neighbors, friends and family members by giving blood,” said Steffanie Sukel, director of Marsh Regional. “Fun Fest is an event that is centered on community, and I can’t think of a more community-oriented act than donating blood. The blood Marsh Regional collects stays in our region, so when you donate, you could be saving the life of someone you know.”

Marsh Regional’s Kingsport collection center, 111 W. Stone Drive, will accept donations during its regular operating hours:

  • Monday and Thursday: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday: 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sunday: Noon to 4 p.m.

Appointments are preferred and can be made by calling 423-408-7500, but walk-ins will be accommodated as space allows. Donation is not required to win the hot-air balloon ride, and entry forms will be available to fill out at the donation center.

Additionally, Marsh Regional will host a special Hot Air Balloon Rally Blood Drive at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium, 1550 Fort Henry Drive, from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 23. Donors will have one last chance to score a limited-edition Hot Air Balloon Rally T-shirt, and those who donate during the Hot Air Balloon Rally Blood Drive on Saturday will also receive a stadium-approved clear bag full of Fun Fest essentials, including sunscreen, a poncho, hand sanitizer, lip balm and a hand fan.

Donors planning to give blood during the Hot Air Balloon Rally Blood Drive on Saturday should note that traffic in the area might be congested due to road closures during the balloon rally.

“We wanted to find a way to thank our donors who give blood during Fun Fest, so we decided to throw in all the festival essentials to make the most of the last day,” Sukel said. “We’re really looking forward to seeing all of our Fun Fest heroes this year who take a little time out of their day to give back to their community.”

Marsh Regional’s blood supply – like many donor centers across the nation – remains at critical levels for all blood types, driving an urgent need for blood and blood product donations in the Appalachian Highlands. Products such as platelets aren’t collected on mobile units, but donors can make an appointment at any Marsh Regional blood donation center at a later date.

One blood donation can save up to three lives, and blood donations collected by Marsh Regional stay within the Appalachian Highlands. Marsh Regional supplies 21 regional medical facilities, all regional cancer facilities and five air rescue bases in Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky.

To give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. People with a cold, sore throat, fever, flu or fever blisters or who are taking antibiotics may not donate. Donors should eat a balanced meal before giving blood.

Donors must always wear a mask while donating blood and while inside Marsh Regional collection centers. Those who are recovering from COVID-19 should wait at least 10 days after COVID-19 symptoms resolve before donating.

In addition to Marsh Regional’s Fun Fest drives, donors are welcome at Marsh Regional’s donation centers: 2428 Knob Creek Road, Johnson City; and 1996 W. State St., Bristol.

For more information about blood donation, or to schedule a blood drive, please call 423-408-7500 or visit Marsh Regional's website.

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