Misty wrote this piece about her annual involvement in the NASCAR blood drive at Las Vegas Motor Speedway…it ranat the end of August but I just wanted to republish it as timely this week as well as let you know that many tracks will be doing blood drives this week: including Daytona International Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Richmond International Raceway and Darlington Speedway are hosting annual blood drives. Amy
One of the things I admire and respect about NASCAR is the emphasis it gives on encouraging fans to give back. There are numerous ways fans can do this: buy a NASCAR day pin, a NASCAR Unites bracelet, participate in a track walk, donate time or money; but one of my favorite events is the annual blood drive hosted by many tracks. I am lucky to live in Las Vegas and be able to easily participate in the event hosted by the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
This year marks not only the sixth year that Las Vegas Motor Speedway will participate in this event, but also the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The event is always scheduled on or around the 11th of September, but realizing that it has been ten years since that fateful event is very powerful to me and has made my dedication to this annual opportunity even stronger. It is important to remember that it is not only catastrophic events that create a tremendous and ongoing need for blood donation, but much more local and personal events that demand average citizens, like you and I, donate. Did you know that the average car accident victim may require as much as 100 pints of blood? That isn’t even mentioning the number of people who require frequent blood transfusions due to illnesses, like cancer and Sickle Cell Anemia, to name just a couple.
Blood donation is perhaps one of the easiest things you can do to get involved and give back. It is a simple and safe process. A new, sterile needle is used for each donor and then discarded, so there is no risk for infection. There are a few easy steps when you do go donate: register, medical history (all information provided by donors is strictly confidential), mini-physical exam (sounds more intimidating than it is. All this means is that your temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin are checked to ensure it is safe for you to donate that day), the actual donation and then the refreshments (cookies and juice-yum!). Expect to spend about an hour at the donation center for the entire process from registration to refreshments. Not bad, right? Plus, much like a race you are sure to meet some fantastic neighbors. During the donation process your only job is to lie back and squeeze a rubber ball to keep the juices flowing so to speak. It is during this time that you and your neighbors will chat about the last race, the upcoming Chase, the latest shenanigans of the drivers and it is of course, your chance to defend your favorite and do a little friendly smack talking, if the mood is right. It is all in fun and in the spirit of camaraderie and giving. It may be second only to tailgating as a way of making a great new NASCAR friendship!
Once you have given your donation, you are asked to enjoy some mighty tasty refreshments in the media center and given some very cool “prizes”, one of which is a ticket to the Camping World Truck Series race at LVMS. Now obviously the swag will vary depending on the track you are at but you get the idea. There is an immediate reciprocity to your good deed and that is never a bad thing.
Now, if all of that has not convinced you yet, let me share just a few facts from the American Red Cross, to think about:
• Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood
• More than 38,000 donations are needed each day
• The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs
• Type O blood is the most requested blood type by hospitals
• Only about 38% of the population is eligible to donate blood
• Blood can not be manufactured – it only comes from generous donors
I hope that you will join me and thousands of others as we do a small act to give back. Check your local track’s websites and NASCAR.com for information on events in your area, but remember you can always contact the American Red Cross or United Blood Service to find a drive in your area, any time of year. And one final bit of advice from a “veteran”, wear your favorite driver gear, just make sure it is short sleeved, and at the end when you are asked what color of gauze you want, make sure to choose a color your driver would wear and that goes with your gear!
For those of you in the Las Vegas area, The Sixth Annual Hero Drive will be hosted by LVMS Friday, September 9th, in the Infield Media Center from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, please call 702.638.7400 or register to donate at this event or anytime by visiting www.unitedbloodservice.org.
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