Linell Kemp is searching for something that might help save his life, and he said the Minden community can help.
In 2010, Kemp was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), a fast-growing cancer in which his body produced to many immature white blood cells.
Kemp is AB negative and needs a matching blood type so that stem cells can be grown and injected into his body after another round of chemotherapy.
"It's a rare type of blood and it is difficult to find a match," Kemp said. "The more people that give, the more likely we will find a match. Even if someone gives blood and they are not a match, they are still helping someone else."
Blood Donors have an opportunity to give at the Minden Civic Center today until 8 p.m. during the annual M*A*S*H BASH, and Saturday at Saint Rest Baptist Church's Community Center on the corner of East Union and B.F. Martin Drive from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Reverend Robert Whitaker, who is senior pastor of Victory Praise and Worship, decided to coordinate the blood drive at Saint Rest after talking with Kemp about his need for a matching blood donor. The two have been friends and have shared fellowship at church softball games for many years.
"Last year he (Kemp) could not play and we missed him," Whitaker said. "So this year, we wanted to get the trophy for him.
"We won the championship and one of our biggest joys was watching him get the trophy," he continued. "It really was a blessing to us."
In addition to playing church league softball, Kemp is a loving husband to Anita, a parent of four, grandparent to five and a talented musician. He and Anita play for their church, Living Epistle, in Shreveport. Kemp is also a proud member of a regional men's singing group and has worked for Calumet in Cotton Valley for 26 years.
Whitaker said there is a two-fold purpose to the blood drive.
"One, he (Kemp) needs blood to help in his recovery, and, two, is to heighten awareness in our community," he said. "There is a shortage of blood that is given by African-Americans. Our hope is to increase awareness and educate so that more of us will come out."
Whitaker said it is important not only to help Kemp but also to give in order to help others.
" Every time we give, there is a life that benefits," he said.
Another blood drive will be held in Kemp's honor in Shreveport next month.
Kemp said with the support of friends in Minden and surrounding areas, he is hopeful and is praying he will find a match while aiding many others.