Last year, the Red Deer Rebels joined forces with the Red Deer Canadian Blood Services clinic to help raise awareness of the need for blood donors. This year they are adding a twist to the campaign.
For the first time ever Western Hockey League rivals Red Deer Rebels and Lethbridge Hurricanes take their competition off the ice to the blood donor clinic to see who can bring in the most donations in the month of February as part of the ‘Hockey – It’s In Our Blood’ challenge. The two teams have come together in a partnership with Canadian Blood Services to help ensure local patients get the blood they need. Both teams are rallying their fans to help save lives by donating blood.
Here in Red Deer, Merrick Sutter, senior vice president of the Rebels, and other people associated with the organization were in attendance to kick off the campaign yesterday and encourage local fans to take part in this challenge – to roll up their sleeves and help the Red Deer Rebels come out on top and save lives through blood donations.
“This is one of those competitions where nobody really loses. There is no real winner. The real winner obviously is the fact that we are doing something really good for the community,” said Sutter.
The Rebels encourage their fans to not only donate now but in future months as well. “Blood is something that the need doesn’t stop in February, it is something that needs to be done every month. It is our hope that fans come in during the next 21 days but then also continue from that point forward,” said Sutter.
In February Canadian Blood Services must collect at least 895 blood donations. The Red Deer Regional Hospital uses up to 130 units every week to help cancer patients, trauma victims and many others who need a second chance at life.
“Blood is something that everyone needs and everyone can relate to with someone they know over the course of their life who needs blood,” said Sutter. “While this is a friendly competition it is really about doing something good for each team’s community.”
There is always a need for donors and especially new donors to help keep up with the demand of needed blood, officials said.
“February is traditionally one of our hardest months as it is a shorter month,” said Kaelyn Smith, community development coordinator for Canadian Blood Services, adding the clinic is hoping this rivalry between the two teams will help boost the numbers and help achieve the needed units of blood.
The ‘Hockey – It’s In Our Blood’ challenge runs from Feb. 1- 28. Those attending the Red Deer clinic in February can enter to win a Rebels prize pack consisting of an autographed 2012-13 Rebels jersey, a four-pack of tickets to an upcoming home game and Rebels and Canadian Blood Services swag.
Call 1-888-236-6283 for blood donor clinic information, eligibility information or to book an appointment. For more information visit www.blood.ca.