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Firefighters plan blood drive

Whitehall Township Fire Department is partnering with Miller-Keystone Blood Center for the department’s first blood drive 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 16 in the Whitehall High School cafeteria, 3800 Mechanicsville Road.

Preregistration is required, and only 50 spots will be available. Sign up at donor.giveapint.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/85812.

A photo ID with the participants’ first and last names will be required upon entry.

The event was organized by Lt. John Hersh of the Hokendauqua fire station. He joined the volunteer service in 1985 and has been with Whitehall since 2005.

His motivation for this event was largely inspired by his own health journey, as he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in February 2021.

Hersh completed five rounds of chemotherapy and was marked clear of cancer in August 2021. He returned to the station in June and is participating as much as his doctors will allow.

Fellow crew members welcomed him back with open arms, he said, adding it felt great to get a sense of normalcy again.

Hersh credits his doctor at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia for giving him the idea to hold a blood drive. While in treatment, he received a bone marrow stem cell transplant and several lifesaving blood transfusions and began to notice there are many individuals who rely on these procedures.

Hersh said he hopes this blood drive will help support many, including WHS student Joey Groller, who is currently battling AML.

He is encouraging all who are able to come out and donate. The fire department will also be providing free passes to the annual Haunted Hayride in the Parkway event to anyone who donates. The pass will be transferable if the individual donating cannot make it. The hayrides take place every Friday and Saturday in October.

For more information, visit the Whitehall Township Bureau of Fire’s Facebook page.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Whitehall Township Fire Department Lt. John Hersh is planning the department's first blood drive, set for 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 16.