OBI, Thunder Blood Drive Makes a Difference

Thursday, December 31st 2009, 6:08 pm
By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- With the New Year come new commitments. Hundreds of Oklahomans have decided to start saving lives. Now, a blood drive in downtown Oklahoma City is making a difference.

Every time a person gives blood, it makes a difference several times over. Three lives are saved with each pint. And at the Cox Convention Center this week -- there was a record turnout for the OBI/Thunder blood drive.

The largest one day non-emergency blood drive in the Oklahoma Blood Institute's history drew more than 900 donors.

"I was very shocked," said blood donor Gaylen Towle. "I didn't think it would be this many people."

Many of these Oklahomans give regularly. But for some, it's their first time.

"I was a little nervous at first, but that's kind of like anything," said first-time donor Casey Childs. "A little pre-game jitters, once you get into it, it's all good."

Incentive to donate was good, too; two free tickets to see the Oklahoma City Thunder in action.

"If the lure of a free ticket to a thunder game is responsible for all of these numbers," said Dan Mahoney with the Oklahoma City Thunder Community Relations. "We're very happy."

Blood supply at OBI has been critically low. Regular donors are usually distracted during the holidays. Extreme weather also takes a toll.

"Giving blood does not require you to write a check, spend any money, it only takes an hour of your time," said Leslie Gamble with OBI Community Relations. "It's something that you give of yourself, life blood and there's nothing that's more impacting than saving a life."

The ticket voucher is good for one of four January games. Donors get to pick between the Thunder versus the Hornets, the Pacers, the Knicks or the Bulls.