A local family hopes their loss can inspire the community to give back to others who are fighting for more time. On Jan. 15, John Leslie Palsa’s family will be partnering with the American Red Cross for a blood drive in his memory.

A farmer and traveler, John died in August at the age of 33 following a brief but valiant battle with cancer. Those who knew him recall his smile and eagerness to greet you, whether a friend or stranger.

John needed several pints of blood during his treatment. But with his rare O negative blood type, fully stocked shelves weren’t always a certainty. According to his family, at one point during his stay, the hospital had just two pints of O negative blood.

"We had to rally our community for him," said Melanie Brown, John’s sister. "In times that affect your family, it makes you hyper aware of the need that is ever present."

While cancer ultimately claimed his life, John’s family and the Red Cross hope to collect 100 donations during the blood drive. Blood donations can help give patients more time with loved ones as they battle chronic illnesses.

"Someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds," said Marci Manley, spokesperson for the Red Cross Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Region. "You never know when your blood donation could help save a life or give a family that precious gift of time. And you never know when that person in need will be your neighbor or a stranger across the country."

Give blood in memory of John Leslie Palsa on Jan. 15 from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church Family Life Center, 215 E. 3rd St., Carlisle, Ark.

A soup luncheon will also be served at the blood drive to raise scholarship funds. Presenting donors will receive handmade thank you cards created by eighth grade volunteers from Carlisle High School’s character education course. These students wanted to contribute to the Red Cross mission but are too young to donate blood.

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.