Red Deer Rebels kick off blood challenge

The Red Deer Rebels looked to renew their off-ice rivalry with fellow WHL team the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Tuesday morning at the Canadian Blood Services clinic in Red Deer.

The two teams kicked off their third annual ‘Hockey: It’s In Our Blood’ challenge in which they will compete to see who can bring in the most blood donations in the month of January.

“The competition involves a good natured rivalry between the two teams with the ultimate winners being the blood recipients right here in Central Alberta,” explained Territory Manager for Canadian Blood Services, Darrin Thompson.

“This month why not get together with your local hockey fans and help with hospital patients’ need for blood by donating blood as the need for blood is significant and ongoing. One small action can make a big impact on someone’s life.”

Thompson explained during the challenge kick-off that every 60 seconds of everyday someone in Canada requires a blood product, with cancer treatment patient requiring as many as up to five donors’ blood during their treatments.

“If you’ve never donated before this your chance to give while simultaneously supporting your favourite team and make a difference in someone’s life,” encouraged Thompson.

This is the third year for the challenge, which has seen the Rebels take the lead for the first two.

Dean Williams, vice president of marketing and sales for the Red Deer Rebels, was onhand at the kick-off where he expressed his excitement to be back in competition with the Hurricanes and stated what all fans have to do when they come is say they wish to donate on behalf of the Rebels.

“While the players themselves can’t donate, we do get a fair amount of staff coming in to support the initiative and we highly encourage all of our season ticket holders and fans to help support their team and blood recipients,” said Williams.

“People will always need blood, and even as a hockey team we have seen situations where we have players who for instance will get a really bad cut from a skate etc. and you’ll see the need for blood right away so this initiative really hits home for us.”

With the constant need for blood, Thompson explained the challenge is beneficial to all of Alberta as it also increases donations through Lethbridge as well as Red Deer.

Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the supply of blood and blood products in all provinces and territories outside of Quebec.

Canadian Blood Services also oversees the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, and is establishing Canada’s (excluding Quebec) national public cord blood bank and supports leading practices in development, professional education and public awareness for organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

In addition, Canadian Blood Services purchases manufactured plasma protein products, contributes to transfusion medicine research and provides diagnostic services in some provinces.

It operates 41 permanent collection sites and more than 21,000 donor clinics annually.

The provincial and territorial Ministries of Health provide operational funding to Canadian Blood Services. The federal government, through Health Canada, is responsible for regulating the blood system.

Book your appointment by calling 1-888-2-DONATE, by visiting blood.ca, or through the GiveBlood app for Apple and Android smartphone users.

jswan@reddeerexpress.com

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