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San Diego Blood Bank Hopes To Continue Chargers Relationship

The San Diego Blood Bank expects 2,500 people to attend this year's Chargers blood drive, which will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Blood Bank expects 2,500 people to attend this year's Chargers blood drive, which will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

San Diego Blood Bank officials said Thursday they hope they can maintain a relationship with the Chargers football team, even though owner Dean Spanos is moving his franchise to Los Angeles.

The organizations team up each November for the Chargers Blood Drive at the Town & Country Resort in Mission Valley. The event draws numerous fans who give blood and interact with players.

"The San Diego Blood Bank relies heavily on Chargers Drive to bring in the blood needed to service the community during the winter holidays," a statement from the Blood Bank said.

Two months ago, the drive resulted in donations of 825 pints.

"We've had a great 38-year relationship with the Chargers," the Blood Bank said. "We're hopeful when the Chargers move, that we are still able to partner with them in Los Angeles, as we provide blood products to that region," the statement said. "If for some reason our partnership does not continue, we will look to partner with other organizations in an effort to keep a large scale drive going during the holidays."

The blood drive started in 1979 when Rolf Benirschke, a popular Chargers placekicker at the time, developed ulcerative colitis and underwent two surgeries to remove his large intestine, which required about 80 pints of blood.

Team executives called the San Diego Blood Bank and asked if they could collect donations, and the next day, about 1,000 fans showed up at the stadium and donated nearly 300 pints of blood. More than 73,000 pints have been collected over the years.