MIS to host largest blood drive in Great Lakes regionWritten by Caitlin McGlade | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The race is on to donate blood at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) track for the Sept. 11 annual blood drive, an event that has potentially saved 14,757 lives since 2002.
The event, which started with 500 donors and has increased to this year’s expected 1,500, will bring every American Red Cross staff member in the 65 Great Lakes region to the tracks to take blood as the single largest blood drive the region’s Red Cross runs.
“The blood drive has helped significantly, not only to collect a large amount of blood, but also to help spread awareness about the Red Cross,” said Jamie Bates, Great Lakes Region production planning manager. “Our blood supply dips around the holidays so it also helps get it up.”
Tim Booth, director of guest services at MIS, started the drive titled “Spirit of America,” the year after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 as a way to support the Red Cross and pay tribute to the victims who died that day, he said.
“The donor experience is race themed and is unlike anything they would find anywhere in the country,” Booth said.
The track is not normally open to the public, but on Sept. 11, Booth will open the track to the 1,500 at no cost — just some of their blood.
Donors will ride on a tram tour of the entire facility, visit the 9/11 field with 3,000 flags representing terrorism victims, receive gift bags and eat a fully catered meal, he said. Race car ride-alongs will also be available for $89.
Guests must reserve a spot before attending by calling 800-YOU GAVE at Ext. 228 or by visiting www.spiritofamericablooddrive.com. Spots are going fast, so donors should call as soon as possible, Booth said.
The blood drive at MIS attracted national attention about three years ago and NASCAR picked up on the tradition. Now, more than 30 different track locations around the nation sponsor an event modeled after Booth’s idea, he said.
“It’s a very unique experience,” Booth said. “It’s very meaningful and the donors that choose to be a part of it find it very rewarding, helping others with the gift of life.”