Braves host mammoth blood drive July 23

The American Red Cross is gearing up for its largest blood drive in Georgia. The Fourth Annual Atlanta Braves All-American Blood Drive is planned for Monday, July 23, at Turner Field in Atlanta.

The Braves are partnering with the American Red Cross to host the blood drive, lasting from 10 a.m., until 7 p.m. The blood drive is sponsored by WSB-TV, 680 the Fan and ROCK 100.5.

“The Red Cross is calling on all eligible blood donors — now more than ever — to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible,” said Randy Edwards, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region. “All blood types are needed, but especially O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative in order to meet patient demand this summer.”

The Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region provides blood to patients in more than 120 hospitals. Officials note that approximately 1,200 people need to give blood or platelets each week day to meet hospital demands.

The Red Cross has issued an emergency appeal for all blood donors. Donors are needed now to help patients and replenish the blood supply.

“Our inventory is currently half of what it was this time last year,” to Kristen Stancil, communications program manager for the Red Cross.

During last year’s Atlanta Braves All American Blood Drive, the non-profit collected 540 pints of blood, according to Stancil. The goal, this year, is to collect 700 pints.

Stancil said presenting donors will receive: a pair of tickets to watch the Braves take on the Houston Astros on Aug. 5, a buy-one, get-one ticket offer to select Braves games; a chance to win one of two iPad 3s; a free stadium seat cushion; and a chance to win a Braves Family Four Pack, which includes four game tickets and a batting practice field visit.

Stancil said free parking will be available in the green lot at Turner Field the day of the blood drive.

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days, she said. Platelets can be given every seven days, up to 24 times a year. Most healthy people who are 17 years of age (or 16 with parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to donate blood to the Red Cross. Donors who are 18 years and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or visit redcrossblood.org and use sponsor code braves.