Dracula won’t be the only one pursuing plasma this Halloween.

A Tyler Junior College student organization, in conjunction with Stewart Regional Blood Center, will hold a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 31 in the Apache Rooms of the Rogers Student Center.

Organizers hope to entice donors with freebies and a festive atmosphere.

“They may freak out when they see us dressed as vampires,” said Dianne Martin, donor recruiter for Stewart Blood Center.

“SKD is Out For Blood” will be sponsored by Psi Gamma, the TJC chapter of Sigma Kappa Delta, a national English honor society. Donors and those who attempt to donate but are deferred will receive free T-shirts from Stewart Blood Center.

Additionally, anyone who donates blood in October will have a chance to win 100 $1 Texas Lottery tickets as part of Stewart Blood Center’s “What Are the Odds?” promotion.

College and high school students in East Texas contribute 20 percent of the region’s blood supply, said John Drury, executive director of Stewart Blood Center.

“There is no artificial blood,” said Drury. “Patients depend on other humans to donate.”

After a screening process is completed, the actual donation time is only about five to eight minutes. Information about donor eligibility can be found at www.stewartblood.org.

Donors with tattoos or piercings may donate without a waiting period as long as the procedure was received from a Texas state-licensed facility.

“Since the implementation of this policy over two years ago, the number of donors deferred temporarily for tattoos and body piercing has dropped dramatically, particularly at high school and college blood drives,” said a Stewart Blood Center press release issued in September.

Martin described the months of October through December as “the critical season,” a time when demand for blood peaks due to higher numbers of accidents.

“A few minutes of discomfort may save a life,” said Drury. “In fact, every donation of a pint of blood has the potential of saving three lives.”

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