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TJC’s 50 Gallon Challenge: Step up to the plate and donate

Help TJC meet its 2020 goal

Tyler Junior College is continuing its annual 50 Gallon Challenge until Friday, Sept. 11. 

For the past nine years, TJC has partnered with Carter BloodCare Center to host the 50 Gallon Challenge where they challenge the community to donate blood. This year the challenge started on March 30 and finished on April 3, but COVID-19 jeopardized the challenge, and TJC was unable to meet its goal. 

During the spring, the blood drive received 146 units of blood, but to meet the goal, TJC needed to collect 400 units. Lauren Tyler, director of student life at TJC, said, “Our goal is to finish the challenge and get the rest of the 50 gallons, which equates to 254 units.” Donating 400 units can help save up to 1,200 lives in East Texas.

Mobile locations will be set up from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, through Friday, Sept. 11, at Rogers Nursing and Health Sciences Center, Rogers Student Center, and TJC West.

The Coronavirus limits the number of people who are able to donate blood, but Tyler said, “the need is still very critical.”

Donors can also go to the Carter BloodCare Donor Center at 815 South Baxter Ave. in Tyler, or schedule an appointment by calling (903) 363-0400. Those interested in donating should let Care BloodCare know they are taking part in TJC’S 50 Gallon Challenge.

Donors will receive a free baseball T-shirt and be entered to win prizes, including a $500 scholarship, a free Starbucks drink and more.

 “Another cool thing that Carter BloodCare is offering is COVID antibody testing,” Tyler said.

Those who give blood usually get a card at the end of their donation where they can go online and get information about their overall health and wellness information. This now includes COVID-19 antibody testing. 

Carter BloodCare personnel are also taking precautions for social distancing and hygiene, such as limiting the number of people who can be on the mobile unit at one time, having donors fill out their check-in forms while sitting in their vehicles, and providing extra sanitizing of surfaces and materials.

Tyler said they are encouraging people who want to donate to make an appointment and do a quick screening online. Doing these things prior to showing up to donate blood can save time. The quick screen will need to be done on the day of the donation. 

Screenings include asking donors if they are healthy and feeling well on the day of donation, as well as screening for temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin levels. 

Tyler said, those who have given blood know they need to go through a series of questions that can be time-consuming. The QuickScreen app allows donors to complete an online questionnaire. It also allows donors to review donor materials and answer donation questions on their IOS or Android devices.

“The QuickScreen app allows you to do that on your phone, so then when it is your time to donate you can simply show them your QR code and go right into the wellness portion of your donation,” Tyler said. 

Donors can complete a quick, online screening on the day they plan to donate by going to CarterBloodcare.org<http://carterbloodcare.org/> and clicking the QuickScreen link on the home page. It is highly recommended to do this QuickScreen app prescreen to expedite the time spent donating.

For instructions on how to use the QuickScreen app, click here (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YOEObP25ZLI

For those not able to donate, Tyler suggests helping spread awareness of the challenge. 

 “Help us spread the news, so we can finish our challenge,” Tyler said. “We just ask that you tell your neighbors. Tell your friends. Post it on your social media. Just help us get the word out.”

For more information, call the TJC Center for Student Life and Involvement at (903) 510-2797, or email Tyler at ltyl@tjc.edu.

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