Hundreds of people came out to give the Gift of Life on Sept. 7 for the “LAPS FOR LIFE” blood drive in honor of the 11th anniversary of 9/11. Thanks to the generosity of racing enthusiasts and Charlotte Motor Speedway, the American Red Cross collected 373 units of lifesaving blood, more than a hundred units over last year’s total. The annual speedway drive continues to make huge growth and help save more lives each year. In 2011, the drove collected 255 pints, and two years ago, 96 units of blood were collected.
Sheila Richardson, of Mooresville, donated blood in honor of her 9-year-old daughter, who she credits being alive today because of the lifesaving blood transfusions she received as a baby.
“If so many generous people hadn’t donated blood when my daughter needed it, she would not have survived,” said Sheila Richardson. “It’s the least I can do to be able to do the same for someone else.”
The event kicked off with a special and emotional opening ceremony, remembering the victims and first responders of 9/11. Local first responders were also honored throughout the day.
People who could not attend the 9/11 blood drive can call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit www.redcrossblood.org to schedule a lifesaving appointment.
The Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to 103 hospitals and must have 1,600 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand. Accident victims as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.
Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be safely given every two weeks, up to 24 times a year. Most healthy people age 17 and older, 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.