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Blood donors show up by the hundreds to help Gatesville family

by Rob Munoz

GATESVILLE - The Balch family of Gatesville has seen outstanding support from others in community in the past week.

Not even a week has gone by since a garage fire claimed their youngest son and put two more family members in the hospital.

The blood drive and bake sale held today surpassed all expectations and the wait line grew so large they had turn people away two hours early and set up another drive for next week.

"Within the first two hours we had 50 people, the largest blood drive ever held in Gatesville had 35 people all day," said Janet Gregg with Carter Blood Care.

The amount of people that gave blood at First United Methodist Church in Gatesville swelled past 200 by 4 p.m.

The bake sale that ran at the same time had racked up at least $5,500 by 6 p.m.

To date, $15,000 has been raised to help the Balch family pay for their medical bills.

Steve Howard, a neighbor and family friend visited the Balches at Parkland Hospital in Dallas where Eric Balch and his son Cade are receiving treatment.

"He had surgery on his hands, but the doctors said he should be fine and the swelling has gone down on his leg. Cade is running up and down the hospital halls," he said.

The support still pours in with events being planned.

So far a barbecue benefit, pasta lunch, a prayer session, garage sale, and even a zumba class with donations going towards the family have been scheduled.

In a Special Patient blood drive, donations at any Carter BloodCare blood drive or donation center can be credited to the Balch family by submitting them under the sponsor number: SPON049693.

Each donation will help replace blood on the shelf that the patients have already used, and will help defer blood expenses not covered by insurance.

Donations can be made at the following blood drives:

  • Sat., July 24, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., at the Masonic Lodge on Hwy. 317 & 4th Street - Crawford. (Coach Balch is a member of the Masons)
  • Sat., July 24, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Richland Mall - Waco - on the Carter BloodCare Coach.
  • Mon., July 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the old gymnasium at Gatesville High School.
  • Tues., July 27, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - 555 North Loop 340, Waco, Tex.
  • Donations can also be made at the Waco Donor Center, located at 4332 West Waco Dr.
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