Blood drive set for Miss Cel Etheredge’s 97th birthday

In celebration of Miss Cel Etheredge’s 97th birthday, the Shelby County Red Cross will host the annual “Cel Etheredge Birthday Blood Drive” Jan. 29 from 1-7 p.m.

The blood will take place at 4524 South lake Parkway in Hoover.

Etheredge, who also organizes an annual Alabama-Auburn blood drive in November, has volunteered with the Red Cross for more than 73 years.

“I do all I can to build these blood drives up,” Etheredge said. “I work hard to make these blood drives a success.”

Ryan Sherman, the Shelby County Red Cross donor recruitment account manager, said it is that hard work and resolve by Etheredge that has made these blood drives a success for many years.

“It’s amazing,” Sherman said. “I’ve never seen someone of her age with such determination and strength. Most people half her age don’t do half of what she does. In Shelby County, we couldn’t do anything without Miss Cel.”

The goal for Friday’s blood drive is to collect 97 unit of blood in honor of Etheredge’s 97th birthday.

“It’s a celebration of Miss Cel,” Sherman said.

Etheredge, who has recently been in the hospital and a rehab facility due to a bout with shingles, is known for working each and every blood drive she organizes and she said she plans on being there Friday, at least for part of the time.

“I’m going to really beg them to let me go, at least for a little bit,” Etheredge said. “I want to be there, I really do.”

But regardless of whether she is there Friday, Etheredge has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

“I’ve never even stopped to think I would stop with these blood drives,” Etheredge said. “They’ll drag me out before I quit.”