The fifth annual David Viens Memorial Blood Drive will be held May 5 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Signal Crest United Methodist Church.
In preparation, donor recruiter Trish Black and Signal Mountain resident Elaine Viens, widow of the late Signal Mountain resident David Viens, are actively in search of people willing to donate a unit of blood to save the life of another local resident.
"It takes 400 blood unit donations per day to supply area patients in hospitals," said Black. "There is nothing more important to saving a life than donating blood. Mr. Viens used a lot of blood products and unfortunately lost his cancer battle, but patients can't fight the battle without blood."
David Viens, who was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia at age 46, would not have survived a day after his diagnosis without blood, said his wife.
"He wanted to live," she said of her husband, who had no symptoms before being diagnosed with CLL in February 2003. "He tried everything. He was a regular coffee drinker, but he was told no more coffee, no red meat, no more sugar and no dairy products. He started eating tons of vegetables and soy products and started cooking tofu."
At the upcoming donation drive, Signal Crest volunteers will welcome donors into the narthex of the church for registration and a blood test. Donors can dine in a café-style environment on-site while volunteers serve baked goods and refreshments. A Blood Assurance Blood Mobile will be parked in front of the church for donors to hop aboard and help save a life. Child care is available from 9-11 a.m.
To enroll as a blood donor at the David Viens Memorial Blood Drive, contact Elaine Viens at 886-5195 and leave a name, phone number and message on the machine.
"In the past four years we've collected a total of over 350 units of blood and 60 platelet donations," said Elaine Viens, referring to all the David Viens Memorial Blood Drives combined. "In the first year 200 people enrolled on the bone marrow registry for David."
This year's blood drive grand prize drawing is a Fandango gift card.
"David was someone that always gave of himself and put himself second to others' needs," said his wife. "He was a volunteer lieutenant firefighter and EMT for Walden's Ridge Emergency Services. He also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and Signal Crest United Methodist Church. He was in the business and marketing field."
The David Viens Memorial Blood Drive continues his legacy of paying it forward and he lives on through the drive, she said.
"Give blood. It is the gift of life," said Elaine Viens. "Jesus gave his blood for us. There is a reason your blood is the gift of life."
This May would have marked her 33rd wedding anniversary with her high school sweetheart. They have two children: Carolyn and Brian Viens.
David Viens passed away in December 2008.