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After 38 Years The Annual Chargers Blood Drive Is Gone, But Not The Need For Blood

November 24, 2017 11:38 a.m.

The annual Chargers Blood Drive took place during a critical holiday season when blood donations are typically down. However, just because the NFL team has left, does not mean the need for blood is gone.

Related Story: After 38 Years The Annual Chargers Blood Drive Is Gone, But Not The Need For Blood


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Sandia blood bank does not let the Chargers departure stop there blood flow. They quadruple the budget for planting trees. And we have ideas for family outings this weekend. This is KPBS Midday Edition.It's Friday, November 24. Our top story today, for the first time in 30 years there will be no Chargers blood Drive at Mission Valley. The annual event was the San Diego banks largest one-day collection that took place during a critical holiday season when blood donations are typically down there but just because the NFL team has left does not mean the need for blood is gone. Matt Hoffman explains.We've collected 77,000 pints of blood over the 38 years. If you know one pint of blood can save three lives, we've saved over 220,000 lives.David Wellis has been CEO of the blood bank for the last four years.He says the teams sponsor drive became a staple in the community.It became a hallmark of vents.For nearly 40 years the blood bank relied on the donations to get through the holiday season.The holiday is critical because blood donation goes down. One, high schools and colleges were closed, people go on vacation and get busy and blood donation falls off.In January 2017 when the Chargers announced they were leaving San Diego the blood blank -- bank needed to act fast.Rolf Benirschke join the team in 1977.As we started the second season, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. And began to deal with an illness that was very difficult.He played through excruciating pain getting sicker as time went on and his illness reached a tipping point in 1979.I remember sitting in front of my locker crying because I know there's no way I will be able to survive 15 more games. And the truce -- the truth was I didn't pick three games later I collapsed on the planeHe went through multiple surgeries over the next seven weeks ultimately meeting eight pints of blood that's when the Chargers blood Drive was born.I was watching the news one night and there was an informal blood Drive quickly put together to replace the blood that I have used.After the first year in 1979, every following blood drive was held at the Town & Country hotel. It was a place where people could help save lives and meet their sports heroes. The last couple years was a time of uncertainty as the charges move the team to Los Angeles.There's no doubt the last couple of years the blood drive was awkward.I was a Chargers fan and when I first got here you have the Chargers, --That's the San Diego blood bank top female donor.I used to joke it takes longer to fill out the paperwork been to donate.She's been donating since 1977Whether you have a drive or don't have a drive, to me it's no different. I do it to benefit other people and I get benefit to make sure I'm still getting healthy. But it's not about me or the drive it's about helping othersThe blood bank announcer placement for the Chargers blood Drive, one that does not include an NFL team.The winter blood drive is now San Diego cares. Same location but what's different this year is we are much more inclusive in the sports teams that will be represented. Without the Padres, to fill the vital need.Even though a new blood drive kicks off it's still technically the 39th consecutive year.Is this the 39th year or the first? I'm not sure.It's completely being rebranded and there's a little motivation from the community to make it bigger and better.A spokesman person from the Los Angeles Chargers confirms that will not hold up a drive this season but they will continue to support it