Red Cross Blood Donors Win Elvis Themed Vacations

March 21, 2011

Thank you, thank you very much to everyone who participated in the “Rock and Roll Up Your Sleeve” campaign with the American Red Cross and Elvis Presley Enterprises.

The campaign, which ran in January and February, was an effort to bring in blood donors during what’s traditionally a difficult time for blood collections. Winter weather and seasonal colds and flu are often to blame for numerous blood drive cancellations.

Thanks to a little help from the King of Rock and Roll, many of you swiveled your hips right into your nearest Red Cross blood drive or blood donor center and gave blood.

All presenting blood donors, Jan. 1 – Feb. 28, 2011, were eligible to win one of the following prizes during the “Ultimate Elvis Sweepstakes:”

  • An expense paid trip for two to Las Vegas featuring tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis and accommodations at ARIA Resort & Casino™ at CityCenter.
  • A VIP expense paid trip for two to Memphis featuring VIP Graceland access and accommodations at The Peabody Hotel.

It’s “one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, now go, go, go” for two lucky Red Cross blood donors!

Heather McIntyre, of Tucson, Arizona, is our Memphis, Tenn. trip winner. McIntyre donated blood at the U.S. Federal Court mobile blood drive, which is part of the Arizona Blood Services Region, on February 24. 

McIntyre, who is type A-positive, began donating in college. She donates routinely at the Federal Court building because “it’s so easy. The drive is right here in the building,” she says. 

On the day of her winning donation, McIntyre sent an email to co-workers saying that she had just donated blood and that the drive had openings for more donors. “I never do that – send emails urging people to donate, but I did that day. That must have started some good karma because I ended up winning the trip,” McIntyre says.

McIntyre convinced a few people to make their first blood donations and assured them the “Red Cross will be there to take care of you throughout the process.”  

She enjoys traveling to new places and is looking forward to being a first-time guest at The Peabody Hotel. 

Jim Gifford, of Bowling Green, Ky., is our Las Vegas trip winner. Gifford donated blood at the Bowling Green regularly scheduled mobile operation, which is part of the Tennessee Valley Blood Services Region, on Jan. 21.

Gifford, who is type O-negative, started donating blood regularly after his first wife was diagnosed with cancer. She received multiple units of blood following at 1997 stem cell transplant. The blood products and treatment she received at The Sarah Cannon Cancer Center at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville added four years to her life.

Gifford is remarried to Carolyn Gifford, who also lost her first husband to cancer. Carolyn and their daughter, Emily Harper, donate blood as well.

“I’m really thankful for the work of the Red Cross. I’m thrilled I’m able to help. Our family is strong in volunteerism and that’s very important to us. We give without the prize. We just believe in the cause,” says Jim Gifford..

The Giffords talked about traveling to Las Vegas before Jim won the trip, and both look forward to their vacation.

Congratulations again to Heather McIntyre and Jim Gifford. We appreciate your dedication to the Red Cross blood program. Enjoy your vacations, which we hope include Elvis’ favorite fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.