“Give blood, play hockey.” A catchphrase regarded humorously among amateur to elite players, the natural toughness of ice hockey is well known to lead to nicks, bumps, scrapes and the occasional rearranged nose. On Saturday, February 1, Sharks fans put their own spin on the slogan when they filtered through SAP Center to engage in a more conventional form of blood donation. While they weren’t shooting on net or doling out hip checks, they were lending their bodies to a very worthy cause; the Sharks Foundation’s annual “Save a Life” Blood Drive benefiting Stanford Blood Center.
Traditionally Stanford Blood Center’s most successful drive of the year, the 2014 event was no exception. Over 300 individuals attempted to donate blood, with 314 units of blood successfully collected by the conclusion of the drive. Additionally, 31 fans registered for the “Be the Match” marrow program and 5 donors registered with Donate Life. Combined, these figures equate to potentially saving the lives of over 1,000 individuals.
In addition to the well-deserved cookies and juice each donor received following his or her appointment, participants were also entered into drawings for Sharks penthouse suite tickets, behind-the-scenes experiences autographed merchandise and unique memorabilia. One first-time blood donor exited SAP Center excitedly clutching four tickets to the Sharks vs. Chicago Blackhawks game that evening, the bandage on his arm quickly forgotten. “I did this to help others,” he commented after hearing his name called for the raffle. “Winning these tickets is just the icing on the cake, but it’s great to feel appreciated. Now all my friends are going to want to donate next year.”
No Sharks Foundation blood drive would be complete without a Shark sighting and Sharks athletes did not disappoint. Logan Couture, Raffi Torres and Adam Burish, three individuals well attuned the truth of “give blood, play hockey,” paid a surprise visit to donors to personally thank them for their selflessness. Despite lying immobile at their donations stations, fans were still eager to quickly snap “selfies” and receive autographs from the Sharks celebrities. “Giving blood can be a scary concept,” observed Burish. “It’s good to see this many people overcome that fear and do their part to help save lives.”
Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. Help provide hope for your neighbors, friends and family members in need by visiting www.bloodcenter.stanford.edu for donation information.