Blood donations urgently needed

Knoxville Police Department Officer Jeff Damewood.

MEDIC Regional Blood Center is in critical need of donations right now and you should really, really consider giving a few ounces of your red stuff to those who need it most during a blood drive today at the Civil Coliseum, officials say. 

Amongst those in critical need of blood today is Knoxville Police Department Officer Jeffrey Scott Damewood, who is battling a type of cancer that requires blood transfusions. Damewood was hospitalized over the weekend due to medical complications from a low platelet count, according to KPD officials.

Damewood, a 24-year veteran of the agency, was named Officer of the Month in 2017 after he and another officer solved a series of home burglaries through careful detective work that included several weeks of interviews and studying both a potential suspect and his preferred methods of breaking into a house. 

The officers eventually got wind of a burglary-in-process call and raced to the address. They caught their suspect red-handed and he later confessed to several residential, business and car burglaries. 

“He has had a really extremely difficult year,” said KPD spokesperson Scott Erland. “His cancer requires really involved treatment options, including fairly routine blood transfusions. And as we mentioned, he was hospitalized this weekend for medical complications caused by low platelet counts.” 

 Erland said late Sunday that he didn’t want to disclose more information about Damewood’s condition due to privacy concerns. “I would add that Officer Damewood was in good spirits based on the most recent update that I received,” he said.

Erland stressed that Damewood isn’t the only person who’s health depends on having access to blood transfusions.

“The more we can spread the word about the blood drive the better. Also, MEDIC is in critical need of supplies as well so people just need to get out and donate blood if they can,” he said. 

The drive will be held today at the Civic Coliseum from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

O positive, A positive and A negative blood types are especially needed right now due to low supplies but all donors are needed.

Appointments are preferred but walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can be made online here or by calling 865-524-3074.

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at

Published on May 10, 2021