SAN DIEGO – Just over 800 pints of blood were collected Tuesday at the 38th annual Chargers Blood Drive at the Town & Country Convention Center in Mission Valley, according to the San Diego Blood Bank.
“I just met a little girl — she’s had 260 blood transfusions and she’s a survivor today,” Chargers safety Adrian McDonald said. “A good story like that is the reason why I’m here.”
The blood drive started in 1979 when Rolf Benirschke, a popular Chargers placekicker at the time, developed ulcerative colitis and underwent two surgeries to remove his large intestine, which required about 80 pints of blood.
Team executives called the San Diego Blood Bank and asked if they could collect donations, and the next day, about 1,000 fans showed up at the stadium and donated nearly 300 pints of blood. More than 73,000 pints have been collected over the years.
“It gives me an opportunity to give blood, which I don’t do often enough, so this is a fun way to do it,” Chargers fan Nancy Minerva said.
The event featured continuous entertainment, refreshments and an opportunity for autographs from Chargers players and the Charger Girls. Numerous players, including McDonald and star rookie defensive end Joey Bosa, chatted with fans and signed autographs.
Admission was $5 for adults, and $1 for children ages 2 to 12. Blood donors could request a refund after they give blood, or opt to donate their fee to the blood bank. Blood donors also received a Chargers Drive 38 t-shirt, VIP wristband for the autograph line and a parking validation.