In 2018 more than 75 people took their turns to donate blood to the Northern California Community Blood Bank during the first annual Battle of the Badges blood drive and for the organizers of Wednesday’s event the goal is to break the century mark this time around.
From 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. residents are encouraged to swing by the Northern California Community Blood Bank in Eureka (on Harrison Avenue across from St. Joseph’s Hospital) and donate a pint of blood. Once again you can choose which local first responder agency you want to donate on behalf of and the organization — police, fire, EMS and anyone else who wears a badge — will compete with other agencies to win the coveted prize a Redwood tree trophy.
“While it is a fun competition and there is a trophy involved, the true winner is the community and those the donations will go to help,” said Eureka Police Captain Brian Stephens in an email on Monday. “Please consider coming out and donating. If you have never donated before no problem. I will be there most of the day and will be happy to walk you through the process and to stand with you as you give if you need the company!”
This will be the second year for Battle of the Badges and the event came about during discussions on what the blood bank needs and when they need it. Summer months can be hard on the amount of blood donated so any pints that come in on Wednesday will be appreciated.
“The community has been very supportive of us,” said John Gullam, director of donor resources with the blood bank, adding that they need blood on a regular basis and this is a way to get more community members involved.
“This is a critical time of year for us because people are traveling, they’re on vacation and the summer is always a challenge and this drive is in order to address that need,” he said.
The brainstorming that came up with the idea to pit first responders against each other in a blood drive competition came out of the work of Donor Recruiter Dee Vallee, according to Gullam, and getting local police, fire and Emergency Medical Services involved was a no-brainer.
“You never know whose life you will save with a blood donation,” Humboldt Bay Fire Deputy Chief Bill Reynolds said Monday. “It could be a complete stranger or one of your loved ones. We are urging people to get out and donate and address these shortages. This is a friendly competition and the fun part is the bragging rights, but no matter who wins the trophy the whole community benefits. The little rivalries between police, fire and EMS is a draw and effort to get people to participate.”
About 5% of all hospitalized patients receive blood transfusions; the average amount of blood a patient will use is approximately three pints, according to the blood bank’s website. The most frequent users are patients with cancer, leukemia, heart disease, gastrointestinal disease, traumas, anemia and liver disease.The amount of blood taken is approximately one pint; it’s equivalent to roughly 10 percent of your total blood volume.
The blood bank also wants to use the event as a chance to inform the public that donations are needed year-round and the call for more donations is non-stop.
“We’d like to beat that 100 mark for the day,” Gullam said about the number of pints they hope to draw. “One thing we try to emphasize is that it’s great for everyone to come out on that one day but we’re going to need blood next week and the week after that. We’re open 11-7 on Wednesdays and if you can make it in we can always use the donation.”
If you go:
What: Battle of the Badges blood donation drive
Where: Northern California Community Blood Bank, 2524 Harrison Ave., Eureka
When: Wednesday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.