Coach Pagano's Fight Against Leukemia Fires Up Annual Bleed Blue Blood Drive
Donors encouraged to make appointment for Dec. 8 event at Lucas Oil Stadium
INDIANAPOLIS (November 9, 2012) – The Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Blood Center will kick off the 13th annual Bleed Blue Blood Drive and Health Fair at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 8, the largest single-day blood drive each year in Indiana. This year's event holds special meaning following Coach Chuck Pagano's battle with leukemia.
Anyone who participates in the blood drive will receive a limited-edition Colts football, which in past years has included the likeness of a Colts player. The two organizations agreed in the summer of 2012 to instead highlight the then newly-hired Coach Chuck Pagano on the commemorative football.
"When Coach Pagano arrived in Indianapolis, one of the first things he talked about was being here to serve, so that we could continue the legacy of philanthropic involvement that is so important to our team," said Stephanie Pemberton, senior director of community relations for the Indianapolis Colts. "Our work with Indiana Blood Center and the Bleed Blue Blood Drive seemed an obvious way to connect him with a powerful community event that engages so many fans and has such an immediate impact on lives across the state."
Indiana Blood Center ordered 14,000 of the regulation-sized NFL footballs with Coach Pagano's image in August to ensure a stable blood supply for patients at Indiana hospitals throughout the holiday season. The footballs attract donors to the Bleed Blue Blood Drive kickoff at Lucas Oil Stadium, at donor centers on select days in late-December and on limited mobile blood drives in January 2013.
"No one could have imagined over the summer when we started planning for Bleed Blue just how personal our cause would become to Coach Pagano and the entire Colts organization," said Wendy Mehringer, chief marketing officer for Indiana Blood Center. "He spoke to high school football teams hosting summer blood drives through our Colts Leadership Challenge to encourage blood donation and participated in a promotional photo shoot for Bleed Blue. Now, allowing his personal battle to be supported by Colts fans so publicly, speaks even higher volumes about the type of person he is. At Indiana Blood Center, we are behind him 100 percent."
To combat the effects of chemotherapy, physicians typically prescribe blood transfusions to cancer patients, especially those fighting leukemia. Provided only from volunteer blood donors and through Indiana Blood Center, red cell transfusions restore a patient's strength while platelet transfusions boost a patient's immune system to aid in battling the disease.
Appointments for the Bleed Blue Blood Drive at Lucas Oil Stadium on Dec. 8 are encouraged. In 2011, all 2,500 slots were filled in the weeks leading up to the event, and given the connection with Coach Pagano, the event is expected to fill even quicker this year. To schedule a blood donation time, visit colts.com/bleedblue or call Indiana Blood Center at 800-632-4722.
The 2012 Bleed Blue Blood Drive and Health Fair will also include a free health fair, access to the field, half price concessions, fitness classes hosted by the Y of Greater Indianapolis, Colts Cheerleaders and Blue, free parking and much more. The event is designed to be family-friendly with free activities for all ages. To learn more about this year's event, visit www.colts.com/bleedblue.
This year's event is supported in part by ADVANTAGE Health Solutions and WTHR Channel 13.
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About Indiana Blood Center
Indiana Blood Center was founded in 1952 and is a non-profit community service organization meeting patient's blood needs at over 60 hospitals across Indiana, by seeing 620 volunteer blood donors each day. The goal is met with the help of the nearly 2,000 organizations who host blood drives in 80 of Indiana's 92 counties and through the dedication of 450 Indiana Blood Center staff who live the daily mission of delivering a constant, stable supply of blood components to patients in Indiana hospitals. Indiana Blood Center is the largest independent blood center in Indiana and among the top 20 nationally, distributing more than 180,000 blood components each year.
The franchise has won four World Championships. Since relocating to Indianapolis, the Colts have won nine division titles, including five consecutive AFC South crowns from 2003-07. The Colts are the only NFL team to have 12+ victories in seven consecutive seasons. The Colts won 115 regular-season games from 2000-09, the highest decade total in NFL history, and the team's 23 consecutive regular-season wins (2008-09) set another NFL record. The club won Super Bowl XLI following the 2006 season, and the Colts reached Super Bowl XLIV after winning the AFC title during the 2009 season.
The Indianapolis Colts take great pride in playing an active role in the community and are committed to corporate citizenship throughout Indiana. Leading by example, we hope to encourage and inspire our fellow Hoosiers to participate in the practice of giving back. Our goal is to create lasting philanthropic partnerships and maximize those relationships for the betterment of our community, thus, building a legacy of goodwill as we share the heart behind the horseshoe.