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Medical Moment:
A Gift That Money Cannot Buy

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children
2222 Welborn Street
Dallas, Texas 75219-3993

To hospitals and to children in need, blood is one of the most precious gifts a person can give. Blood drives organized by Masonic Lodges throughout the state of Texas have helped give this gift of life to thousands of children.

“Gift of Life” is a statewide blood drive effort involving Masonic Lodges in Texas. The annual project, now in its third year, benefits Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) in Dallas as well as Shriners Orthopaedic Hospital of Houston and Shriners Burns Hospital in Galveston.

Each year, TSRHC must take in 4,500 units of blood to offset the costs associated with storing and using blood products in a hospital operating solely on charitable contributions. So, the need for donor participation is great. Since the “Gift of Life” blood drive’s inception, close to 8,000 units of blood have been donated.
Under the leadership of Past Grand Master Joe W. Regian, 33°, the Texas blood drive project began in 1995 in Dallas County. Efforts quickly expanded to include neighboring Tarrant County before rapidly growing to include Lodges throughout the entire state of Texas.

Each Masonic Lodge participating in the project appoints its own blood drive chairman to coordinate a local event. The key to success, according to Brother Allen H. Tuell, 32°, K.C.C.H., Texas State Coordinator, is the amount of participation that comes from the outside community: “To really make a difference, we have to get outside donors inside our Lodges. The message we need to get across is that everyone who participates benefits -- the Lodge, the hospitals, the communities, and the Masonic Fraternity.”

Keith Hitt, outreach coordinator for TSRHC, agrees: “Hospitals require blood. Blood saves lives. But less than five percent of the population actually donates blood, so it’s a much-needed resource. By bringing people into Lodges for these blood drives, we let them know what Masons do and how they help communities. We also help keep costs down for our hospitals.”

New Lodges become involved in the project each year, and it is anticipated that this trend will continue. Brother Tuell never misses an opportunity to encourage fellow Freemasons to take advantage of the chance to make an immediate difference in children’s lives while working to fulfill the Fraternity’s philanthropic mission.

For more information about the Texas “Gift of Life” blood drive effort, contact Texas State Coordinator, Brother Allen Tuell, at (214) 321-5695.