Over the month of November, Canadian Blood Services worked with three CFL teams as well as local media stations to challenge communities in a blood drive.
The 4CC Football Blood Challenge brought the Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders together with radio stations Sunny 94/Kraze, Big 105FM and Zed 98.9 to rally donations in support of Canadian Blood Services.
Darin Clark of Sunny 94 took hold of the lead with 130 units of blood donated in four weeks. A total of 322 units of blood were collected in the duration of the challenge. Jamie Worthington of Big 105FM gathered a total of 100 units, while Travis Currah of Zed 98.9 was able to gather 92 units.
“I presented the trophy to Darin, and he was very taken aback that we had gotten his name engraved on the trophy. The Sunny 94 listeners and Eskimo fans in Central Alberta were tremendously supportive,” said Territory Manager of Canadian Blood Services Darrin Thompson.
The representative DJs from each radio crew encouraged listeners to donate blood and support each team in their goal of hoisting the Corpuscle Cup. A long-time local physician, Dr. Ron Onerheim, donated the Cup to encourage blood donations in Red Deer and the area.
Thompson said that all DJs led by example and donated on behalf of their teams.
The Corpuscle Cup was, according to Thompson, a predecessor of sorts for the Partner For Life program. The program encourages organizations and corporate groups – such as the Eskimos, Stampeders and Roughriders – to gather mass support and donate in groups.
“With a group, there is support and it becomes a fun thing to do. A lot of our corporate partners are looking at employee engagement activities that don’t necessarily include going to a pub. Instead, they are doing something as a group that allows them to give back to the community. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Thompson said.
The Football Challenge was very successful and brought in a total of 322 units. Thompson said that a car accident victim will typically require about 50 units of blood and that the 322 units could save multiple lives.
“In Central Alberta, having that many donations come in during the month is fantastic. Our organization is a national blood bank. We’re providing blood for local help centres but all of the blood is collected for a national goal. What we do here in Central Alberta helps people everywhere across the country,” Thompson said.
Canadian Blood Services runs several programs that aim to raise awareness of their campaign. Currently, the Wrap It Up Red campaign is ongoing across Canada.
Wrap It Up Red is a seasonal blood donation challenge that encourages people to, according to the Canadian Blood Services, give the gift of red this year by donating at a local Blood Services Clinic.
“The Wrap It Up Red Campaign is for a group or office to book a day at a clinic, or come in and donate in a recipient’s honour. On the 18th of December, we’re having a Wrap It Up Red Christmas party for our donors, where we will ask our donors (from now until the 18th) to wrap up a gift in red – preferably an item for babies – that we’re going to donate to the Ronald McDonald House here in Central Alberta,” said Thompson.
The campaign varies all across the country. Thompson said a couple clinics decorated the space in red wrapping paper for awareness. Others used red lights to light up the buildings and draw attention and donations.
Nationally, Thompson said Canadian Blood Services has received and shared videos of recipients wrapping themselves in red paper or coming out of red gift boxes and saying a personal thank-you to their donors.
Donation clinics can be found by calling 1-888-2-donate or by visiting www.blood.ca.