Asheville’s first responders are teaming up with the American Red Cross to save lives at the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive. The event takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 22 at First Baptist Church, 5 Oak St., in Asheville.
Battle of the Badges is a friendly competition between the Asheville Fire Department, Asheville Police Department, Buncombe County Emergency Medical Service, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina Highway Patrol. The blood drive encourages residents to join local first responders to help save lives. Donors at the blood drive will vote for their favorite agency before they donate, and the winning team of first responders is announced at the end of the drive.
The Asheville Police Department looks to defend its title in the competition this year. The team collected the most pints at last year’s event. Overall, 137 pints were collected.
“First responders know firsthand how critical it is to have blood readily available in emergencies,” said Chris Newman, donor recruitment manager for the Red Cross Blood Services in the Asheville area. “Through the blood drive, local heroes and the donors who support them can help ensure blood is on the shelves before it is needed.”
The blood drive comes at a critical time. Winter weather can lead to canceled blood drives, and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, can cause some donors to become temporarily ineligible to donate. Despite these challenges, patients still depend on blood donations every day.
How to participate
All presenting donors at the blood drive will receive a T-shirt, while supplies last and are eligible to receive a $5 Amazon.com gift card via email.
To make an appointment, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: avlbattleofbadges or use the Blood Donor App.
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started, visit redcrossblood.org/rapidpass and follow the instructions on the site.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.