The San Diego Blood Bank is now booking appointments for blood donors at Chargers Drive XXXVII, presented by San Diego County Credit Union, on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle South, in San Diego’s Mission Valley area. To make an appointment today to donate blood on Nov. 24, visit www.SanDiegoBloodBank.org, or call (800) 4-My-SDBB (469-7322).
The annual, day-long community-wide blood drive from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. is considered one of the largest and longest-running single-day blood drives in the nation. This year’s collection goal is 1,200 pints. Donors will be awarded a voucher that may be redeemed for a t-shirt, as well as a VIP wristband for the autograph line. Blood collected at Chargers Drive XXXVII will help hospital patients in the San Diego community. Blood donations are especially critical at this time of year because donations often decrease during the holidays while the need for more blood often can increase.
In addition to blood collection, entertainment and autographs from Chargers players and the Charger Girls, attendees will be invited to witness the future of medical care by touring the Genome Zone, presented by Illumina Inc., a global leader in DNA sequencing.
New this year at the Chargers Drive, the Genome Zone will be an interactive exhibit where every fan can walk through on an interactive journey and learn more about unlocking the mystery behind life’s their DNA code through genome sequencing and their own inherited health. Organizers said attendees to this once-in-a-lifetime experience will discover about their DNA genetic signature that can unlock life’s code and be inspired by the implications for improved health and wellness. Fans do not need to donate blood to tour the Genome Zone.
Admission cost to attend the Chargers Drive is $5 for adults, $1 for children ages 2 to 12. Blood donors can request a refund of their admission fee after they donate, or they can donate their admission fee to the San Diego Blood Bank. Parking is free only for blood donors. Parking cost at the hotel for other attendees is $4 per hour ($8 maximum). Donors must be at least 15 years old and weigh at least 114 pounds (15 and 16 year olds must have parental consent). Free blood typing will also be offered for up to 500 attendees, ages 15 and older.
Attendees to Chargers Drive XXXVII also will have the opportunity to purchase an entry to win a new Honda CRV from the San Diego Honda Dealers.
Chargers Drive in 2014 was attended by more than 3,500 San Diegans, who donated an impressive 1,091 units of blood, an increase from 2013. First-time donors totaled 307 in 2014. Over the past 36 years, the drive has collected more than 72,000 pints of blood.
The Chargers Drive has grown successively larger since its serendipitous founding in 1979, when then-Charger place-kicker Rolf Benirschke, who was suffering from ulcerative colitis, a life-threatening medical disorder, joined with San Diego Blood Bank to host the event. Benirschke nearly died after two surgeries in eight days in November 1979, but surprised everyone by returning the next season to continue his record-setting career for another seven seasons. With the ever- popular Bernirschke as the event’s focal point, the event has grown year by year.
The San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB), the primary supplier of blood to the majority of hospitals in San Diego County, is dedicated to the community health by continuing the reliable supply of blood to those patients in need, as well as offering health and wellness education and services and lifesaving research. SDBB operates a fleet of 10 blood mobiles and six local donor centers. SDBB’s Cell Therapy Program provides lifesaving stem cell transplants to patients worldwide. To learn more about SDBB, register for blood donation appointments, or to make a financial donation, visit www.SanDiegoBloodBank.org, or call (619) 296-6393.