GLENDALE, AZ — The Arizona Cardinals have announced they will be hosting blood drives to help address the low number of blood donations due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The first blood drive will take place at State Farm Stadium on Tuesday, March 31 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Cardinals say appointments for this blood drive filled up completely within a few hours, so they added more blood drive dates.
They will take place on April 7 and 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Space is limited and appointment reservations are required. Registration for appointment times can be made by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, and entering sponsor code "Cardinals" in the upper right-hand corner.
As a result of the pandemic, officials say more than 200 blood drives across Arizona have been canceled following the CDC's recommendation to not have gatherings of over 10 people. In doing so, more than 5,000 blood donations to hospital patients have been lost.
Governor Doug Ducey has said there is a desperate need for blood donors at this time and is encouraging donations.
The Cardinals will be partnering with Vitalant, formerly known as United Blood Services, Dignity Health and Cigna to host the event.
"Blood drives across organizations, businesses, schools and churches bring in about 60% of Arizona's blood supply," said Sue Thew with Vitalant.
“Throughout this crisis, nurses, doctors and the entire community of front-line medical workers have done the extraordinary work that we cannot,” said Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill in a statement. “Blood donation is something that we can and the need for it has never been greater. The support we get on game days at State Farm Stadium is incredible and we’re asking fans to come out again now to support this critically important effort.”
The team has also said that with the stadium's size and event set up, proper social distancing is feasible, while also accommodating a large volume of people.
The blood donations go to help people like David Rees, who lives in the Valley and was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2017.
"When the doctor told me I had leukemia he said, 'if we don't start treatments now, you'll have three to four weeks to live,'" Rees said.
Rees told ABC15 he underwent 37 blood transfusions and is now doing well.
"I needed blood donors just to survive a month," he said. "I had 37 people that came forward."
In the past two weeks, Rees became a father, adopting a baby girl. He's grateful to have the opportunity after battling through his health issues.
"I got to meet six of my blood donors and I just collapsed with gratitude," he said. "It was so overwhelming for me, just to meet the people that saved my life."
Anyone who wants to attend and donate must register online, according to a release from the team. For more information, event details, and registration click here.