19th annual Battle of the Badges blood drive kicks off Dec. 12

December 5, 2013


Media contact: Cari Merrill, 316-268-0853, @RedCrossBloodCP                     redcrossblood.org


19th annual Battle of the Badges blood drive kicks off Dec. 12

Red Cross encourages people to give something that means something this holiday season


WICHITA, Kan. (Dec. 5, 2013) — Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Captain Larry Bragg knows first-hand the importance of blood and platelet donation.


A 20-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, Larry was diagnosed with bladder cancer in November 2007. He immediately began treatment, which included chemotherapy, the removal of his bladder and construction of a new one.


Two weeks later, a post-surgical doctor’s visit revealed Larry’s extremely low white blood count. The chemotherapy treatment that was helping destroy the cancer cells also destroyed his white blood cells, and Larry felt weak and ill.


Larry’s doctor told him he needed blood immediately.


“This happened on a Thursday,” recalled Larry, who was a long-time blood donor until his cancer diagnosis. “And then on Monday, I felt so much better and was moving around. When the doctor came in, I was sitting up, eating breakfast. He signed my release and I went home.”


Dedicated men and women in uniform, like Larry, dutifully serve the public every day by responding to local emergencies and keeping the streets safe. Now they are joining forces to help save lives in a different way.


For the 19th consecutive year, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, Sedgwick County Fire Department, Wichita Fire Department and the Wichita Police Department will “battle” to see who can bring in the most blood donors. Community members who donated blood can vote for their favorite group. The winning agency gets bragging rights for the year as well as a traveling trophy. The Red Cross hopes to collect 905 pints of blood and 458 units of platelets.


“I hope people understand how important blood donation is. You never know when you’ll be the one who needs it,” Larry said. “I never thought it would affect me.”


Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Dec. 12, 2013 – Jan. 1, 2014 at the Wichita Donation Center, 707 N. Main St., Wichita

Monday – Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 24, and Tuesday, Dec. 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

– more –

All presenting blood donors will receive a collectable Battle of the Badges T-shirt, while supplies last. Also, presenting donors will be eligible to enter into daily prize giveaways. Some of those items include:

  • A piece of jewelry from Mike Seltzer Jewelers
  • A recliner from Ashley Furniture
  • A party bus for an evening from Triple B’s Express


Additional events:

  • Dec. 12 at 11 a.m.: Battle of the Badges kickoff event

To get the month-long event started, Wichita first responders will donate and be available for media interviews. Those scheduled to donate include: Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Captain Brenda Dietzman; Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams and others

  • Dec. 12 from 3 to 6 p.m.: Santa will visit the Wichita Donor Center. 
  • Dec. 17 from 1 to 4 p.m.: Mascot Day. Various mascots, such as Thunderdog, will visit.
  • Dec. 20: Giftwrap Day with Journal Broadcast Group

Join your favorite radio personalities, such as Jan Harrison from 104.5 The Fox and others. Bring your presents and while you donate blood or platelets, the team from Journal Broadcast Group will wrap them. They’ll wrap donors’ gifts while they give the gift of life.


The holidays, inclement weather and seasonal illnesses can make winter a difficult time to collect enough blood and platelet donations to meet patient needs. The Red Cross urges donors who have made a commitment to give blood or platelets to keep their appointments. Every appointment kept and every pint donated offers hope to patients in need.


“Eligible donors can help spread hope during the holidays by giving something that doesn’t cost a thing, but can offer so much – a blood or platelet donation,” said Cari Merrill, communications program manager for the Central Plains Blood Services Region. “Give something that means something this holiday season.”


Each year, the Red Cross collects approximately 5.6 million blood donations from roughly 3.3 million volunteer donors. From these donations, more than 8 million transfusable blood products are manufactured and delivered to approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the county for patients in need.


How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. 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 (16 with parental consent in Kansas), 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.


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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossBloodCP.