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Gainesville grad hosts blood drive
Effort in memory of lost classmate Kelley
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Where to donate blood

Blood drive in memory of Patrick Kelley
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Grace Episcopal Church, 422 Brenau Ave., Gainesville
More information: 770-536-0126

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers
When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: 1200 McEver Road Extension, Gainesville
More information: 888-795-2707

American Red Cross
When: Noon to 7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
Where: 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway SW, Gainesville
More information: 800-RED CROSS

Gainesville High School graduate Phalan Henry remembers her classmate Patrick Kelley as “selfless,” “a light to those in darkness” and someone whose smile “could always make anyone’s day better.”

After a car accident took Kelley’s life on his 18th birthday during his senior year, his class was in disbelief at the loss of a beloved friend.

“Patrick influenced every single person in our graduating class,” Henry said. “I know that no matter who you talk to, we all have been impacted by him.”

Now, nearly a year after his Dec. 20, 2011, passing, Henry has organized a blood drive in Kelley’s memory at a time when the need is most critical.

“December is the single most important month for blood drives because it is when the blood banks are at their lowest and need the support of everyone. This is one gift that you can give someone during the holidays that has no price value on it,” Henry said.

It’s also a cause that mattered to Kelley.

“I just felt really called one week during school to come up with a way that could bring all of those who Patrick’s life touched together in a positive way. When I ran the idea by his mother and father, Cheryl and Charles, they informed me that doing a series of blood drives was actually Patrick’s first idea for his Eagle Scout project,” Henry said. “When I found out that, I knew I had to do it.”

The blood drive will be held 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Grace Episcopal Church, 422 Brenau Ave. in Gainesville, where Kelley was an active member of the youth group.

“For me, this blood drive, along with any other, is about helping give something to someone who truly can’t help themselves,” said Henry. “The day of the drive is just about coming together to remember what a fabulous person Patrick was.”

Residents can give blood on more than just Saturday, though.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers takes donations every day at its donor center at 1200 McEver Road Extension in Gainesville.

The organization is entering names into a drawing to win an iPad Mini for anyone who donates blood or platelets through Dec. 24 at a LifeSouth donor center. The drawing will take place at the end of the day on Dec. 24.

The American Red Cross’ Northeast Georgia Chapter also takes donations. Donors can give every day but Sunday at the center at 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway SW in Gainesville.

Those age 17 or older, or age 16 with parental permission, and weighing at least 110 pounds and in good health may be able to donate blood or platelets. Photo identification is also required.