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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Tue., Nov. 24, 2015 10:00 AM PST
Chargers Blood Drive XXXIV a Rousing Success
For the 34th year in a row, the Chargers held their annual blood drive today.
Once again, it was a complete success as over 1,000 people showed up to donate blood and mingle with the Chargers. According to the San Diego Blood Bank, that’s ten times as many donors than they usually see during a typical blood drive.
“Thanks to the Chargers this is the most successful blood drive we have each and every year,” said Lynn Stedd, Community Relations Director of San Diego Blood Bank. “Today we are going to have over 1,000 people donate, and everyone is upbeat and excited about the event. I think it certainly is a tribute to everyone in San Diego who comes out to donate blood for the holidays. This is much more than a blood drive. It’s a tradition here because it gives people an opportunity to also meet the Chargers players and enjoy the festivities sponsors provide.”
The majority of the Chargers roster made appearances throughout the day to support the cause, saying how this is one of their favorite events the team puts on each and every year.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Ryan Mathews. “These people are doing a great thing, giving blood and saving lives, so I like to come out here and sit with them and talk with them. We’re taking pictures and joking around. It’s the little things that mean a lot. They come out and support us on the field so the least we can do is come here and support them giving blood. I’m grateful that all these people came out here for an important cause.”
While everyone was in a positive and cheerful mood, the serious nature of the event was also on everyone’s mind.
“This is one of the best events of the year because it’s an important one,” said Mike Scifres. “The people of San Diego are coming out helping the rest of the community. Unfortunately, there are so many kids and people who need blood transfusions, and this is a great event to help that cause. It’s just great to be a part of it.”
While many fans regard professional athletes as heroes on the field, the Chargers explained that the true heroes are the fans that showed up to donate blood.
“It’s great to come out here and be able to give autographs to people who are here to save other people’s lives,” said Corey Liuget. “You never know when you or someone in your family needs blood, so it’s a big thing these people are doing. They’re heroes.”
The blood drive isn’t just an event the Chargers players look forward to every year; it’s also a tradition for the entire city of San Diego.
“Every year for the last 30 years my family has come and donated blood,” said 19-year old Ben Kingsley. “This is my third year doing it. But my mom has come out for about 30 years, and we have 10 people here today.”
The event started in 1979 when kicker Rolf Benirschke was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis that required surgery that required many pints of blood. The Chargers contacted the San Diego Blood Bank to see if they could team up for a blood drive, and the very next day the inaugural Chargers Blood Drive took place.
Now, 34 years later, the event is going strong as the Chargers Blood Drive is a staple in the San Diego community.