The Podium

Pole sitter Sebastion Bourdais (second place) and James Hinchcliffe join (third place) join Scott Dixon on the podium of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

MANSFIELD — For the second year, NTT IndyCar Series driver and blood recipient James Hinchcliffe is partnering with the American Red Cross to host a series of blood drives across the country in conjunction with local races to boost summer blood supplies.

The community is invited to join the race to help save lives with Hinchcliffe at a Red Cross James Hinchcliffe Blood Drive Saturday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, July 28, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Mansfield with a goal to collect 65 blood donations. 

The blood drive is being held in conjunction with the Honda Indy 200 race, which is a ticked event. Only event ticket holders will have access to enter and participate in the blood drive. Those who come to give blood at this event will receive an autographed Hinchcliffe hero card, and a Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last, and can enter to win an additional Hinchcliffe autographed item. Event ticket information is available online at midohio.com.

Hinchcliffe suffered severe injuries after a crash during practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2015. He needed 22 pints of blood to survive, about twice an average person’s blood volume. His experience led him to realize how important blood donation really is.

“What happened to me was a real eye opener,” said Hinchcliffe. “I understand now how blood can be needed in a moment’s notice and how much can be used to help just one person. I’m partnering with Red Cross to encourage more people to give blood so that patients can have another shot at life, just like I did.”

Severe injuries, like those that happened to Hinchcliffe, are a reminder of how fragile the blood supply can be. “We can’t predict when a major accident might happen,” said Wendy Yarbrough, donor recruitment manager for the Red Cross. “We need to be ready to respond to emergencies at any time and it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency.”

Hinchcliffe has hosted a number of Red Cross blood drives in his home town of Indianapolis since 2016, but this is the second year he is supporting a national campaign with a series of Red Cross blood drives in conjunction with races across the country. Last year, five drives were held resulting in 261 donations. Hinchcliffe seeks even more donors in 2019, with six drives planned so far. The public can participate in social media discussion about these events by using hashtag #RaceToSaveLives or #HinchcliffeHundred.

This blood drive comes as the Red Cross faces an emergency blood shortage. Blood donors are needed now to help avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients this summer. Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in. More donations are immediately needed to help replenish the blood supply. 

The Red Cross depends on blood donor heroes across the nation to collect enough blood to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,500 hospitals nationwide. In Central Ohio alone, the Red Cross needs about 550 donors each day to support patients at 40 area hospitals. Donors of all blood types are needed to help those who rely on blood products. 

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. For this event use sponsor code: MidOhio. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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