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Blood Bank offers `Genome Zone’ at this year’s Chargers blood drive

Chargers cornerback Jahleel Addae with blood donor at Chargers Drive

Chargers cornerback Jahleel Addae with blood donor at Chargers Drive

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, 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, or call (619) 296-6393.

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