MIS, American Red Cross set for Spirit Of America 400

Few spots remain for biggest single-day blood drive in the state. BROOKLYN, Mich. -- While the Pepsi 400 presented by Farmer Jack represented the end of another great race season at Michigan International Speedway, fans will have one more chance...

Few spots remain for biggest single-day blood drive in the state.

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- While the Pepsi 400 presented by Farmer Jack represented the end of another great race season at Michigan International Speedway, fans will have one more chance to visit historic MIS before next summer.

Only a week away, the Spirit of America 400 will be an eight-hour blood drive at MIS on the one-year anniversary of the Sept 11 terrorist attacks. The event is expected to generate more than 400 units of blood, making it the biggest single-day blood drive ever in the state.

"We would encourage anybody that wishes to be a part of this unique event to register now, before the last spots are gone," said MIS Guest Services Manager Tim Booth. With more than 470 spots already filled, only a few remain for this one-of-a-kind event. Donors must pre-register by calling the Great Lakes Region of the American Red Cross at (800) GIVE-LIFE.

The Spirit of America 400 will offer a package to donors unlike any other blood drive event. TrackTime Driving Schools, based in nearby Manchester, Mich., is offering pre-registered donors a special price on ride-alongs in two-seater stock cars. For just $75 -- which is 25 percent off TrackTime's school price -- donors can take three thrilling laps at speed around MIS' high banked oval in a two-seater stock car with a skilled TrackTime Driving School instructor at the wheel. All proceeds for the ride-alongs will benefit the American Red Cross. Donors will also receive a commemorative event credential, shirt, hat and pin. Other highlights will include a tour of the track and a photo opportunity with a real Indy Racing car.

Another unique aspect of the event will be the return of a Michigan-based bone marrow fund. My Friends Care will return to MIS to participate in the Spirit of America 400 registering donors wanting to be on the national bone marrow registry at no cost to the donor, a process that normally costs around $70.My Friends Care visited MIS every August from 1996-1999 and added over 4000 people to the national bone marrow registry and raised awareness for the need of bone marrow donors. "We are looking forward to the continued partnership between MIS and My Friends Care," said MFC President Jackie Ellis. "With this event being on the anniversary of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, we remember the many heroic acts made on that day, the Spirit of America gives blood donors a chance to be heroes as well," said Ellis.

The Spirit of America 400 comes at a time when the Red Cross is in critical need of blood. "People came out in record numbers after 9/11," said Fred Sterns, CEO of Red Cross' Great Lakes Region. " While their donations were important at that time in our nation's history, we want those same donors to know it's equally important to give blood year-round." Since the end of June, blood supplies state- and nation-wide have remained at critically low levels, leaving the Great Lakes region of the American Red Cross with about a 24-hour supply of important blood types like O-negative. The Red Cross considers a three-day supply of blood a safe and an adequate level for meeting the ongoing needs of hospital and emergency care patients.

The critical need for blood and impending shortage is caused by a lack of donors, combined with an ever-increasing need for blood. Nation-wide, the need for blood has grown by nearly 9 percent in the last year, while collections have increased on 4 percent in the same time period. "We estimate that if every current donor--including those who gave for the first time after 9/11--gave blood just twice a year, blood shortages would be a thing of the past," said Sterns.

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