Event aims to boost Indiana blood supply

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The 20th anniversary of largest single-day blood drive in the state will take place Saturday in downtown Indianapolis. Versiti Blood Center of Indiana says the state’s blood supply dwindles during the holiday season and the Bleed Blue Blood Drive, hosted by the Indianapolis Colts, aims to fill that gap. The event will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium and up to 2,000 donors are expected to attend.

Penny Schroeder, area vice president and director of donor services at Versiti, talked to Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta about the difficulty in getting blood donors during the holidays.

“During the holidays, people go on vacations so donating blood sometimes isn’t on the top of mind,” said Schroeder. “So for patients across the state, blood is always needed. So during the holidays, we really ask people to roll up their sleeves, really put blood donation on the list because people are going on vacation, schools are out of session, and then you always have flu seasons, which is always hard. So there’s always illness to battle, too.”

Schroeder says corporate philanthropy, such as that from the Colts, is extremely important.

“Our mission is to save patients’ lives and to really enable our healthcare partners to succeed locally here in Indiana and nationally. So, the support of companies like the Colts really helps to ensure that the blood supply is stable and we’ll partner with any organization whose mission really matches ours.”

In addition to being the largest single-day blood drive in Indiana, it is also the largest blood drive in all five states served by Versiti. Schroeder says the organization shuts down all of its sites and brings employees to Indianapolis with 100 blood beds and a couple of mobile blood buses inside the stadium.

Formerly known as the Indiana Blood Center, the organization rebranded earlier this year after joining the Versiti network. The center supplies blood to more than 80 hospitals throughout the state and Schroeder says they need 560 donors per day to meet the needs of patients.

Schroeder adds while they are always looking for every blood type available, O negative blood is more commonly in short supply.

The Bleed Blue Blood Drive will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. You can find more information by clicking here.