TJC hosted its 12th annual “50 Gallon Challenge” beginning Monday, March 27, and ending Friday, March 31. The annual five-day event challenges TJC students and faculty to collectively donate 50 gallons
– equal to 400 units – of blood, which could help 1,200 Texas patients in need of lifesaving transfusions. All donors received a 2023 commemorative TJC T-shirt, a 24-ounce, insulated “Give for Texans” water bottle from Carter BloodCare, and daily prizes from local businesses.
“Tyler is a very giving community, and we rely on their support to help us reach this big goal,” said TJC Director of Student Life Lauren Tyler. “Each year we’ve held the blood drive, we’ve had great support from our students, faculty and staff and the great people of Tyler.”
TJC teamed up with Carter BloodCare 12 years ago to host its “50 Gallon Challenge,” and through their partnership have raised over 500 gallons of blood. It takes one pint of blood to save up to three lives, according to Carter BloodCare. The program started when students saw a need to help the community raise blood donations during the spring break period of 2011. Blood donations drop when high school and college students are on spring break in mid- March. According to Carter BloodCare, 25% of the community blood supply comes from high school blood drives.
“I like giving blood. I think it’s a cool thing to do,” Caelyn Kisamore, a freshman nursing major at TJC, said. “Especially because I major in nursing. The world always needs blood. You’re helping somebody else – that’s just what it is. You’re helping somebody.”
Stations were created across TJC campus, including TJC West, to support the drive and create convenient locations for the community to donate blood. Jessica Rios, a sophomore nursing major, advises those who are able to donate where they can.
“It’s really important to donate blood so patients and people that need it can have it,” Rios said. “Even if it’s not an all the time thing, it’s really important for people to have. It helps out anyone that needs it in any circumstance, whether they’ve been in an accident and are losing blood or in the simple event that they just accidentally slice their arm open.”
The blood drive was also open to those outside TJC, provided they have a valid state ID. Donors were also able to check in and do a medical screening online prior to their visit.
“Our students work hard throughout the week at various points on campus to help make it convenient for people to donate,” Tyler said. “We encourage the public
to come by to help with this life-saving effort.”