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It just keeps getting bigger and better. Blood drive officials were excited to report 962 units of blood were donated during the 12-hour Spirit of America 800 blood drive held at Michigan International Speedway on September 11. That is 173 units more than in 2006 (789), thus continuing to make it the largest blood drive in the Great Lakes Region and one of the largest 9-11 blood drives in the country.

After a successful drive in 2006, blood drive organizers raised the stakes by announcing a goal of 800 units collected for the 2007 event, thus renaming it the "Spirit of America 800." It was goal that was achieved by 113 percent with the hard work of donors, volunteers, MIS and American Red Cross staff.

"Words can't explain how proud I am of this event and how grateful I am for all who were involved in making this blood drive a success," MIS Director of Guest Services and Spirit of America founder Tim Booth said. "I would like to say thank you to all who came out and donated their blood and time to the Spirit of America 800. I can't express how appreciative I am."

"It is remarkable to witness the outpouring of support and giving that surrounds the Spirit of America blood drive," said Sharon Jaksa, CEO of the American Red Cross Great Lakes Region Blood Services. "It is quite a feat to stage a drive this large. It happens thanks to the wonderful staff and volunteers with Michigan International Speedway and the dedicated efforts of our staff at the Red Cross. But most of all it happens because of the hundreds and hundreds of donors that take the time to give the gift of life."

For the sixth consecutive year, the Spirit of America 800 blood drive at Michigan International Speedway has established itself as an event that has embodied this patriotic spirit through the generous time of donors and volunteers establishing the event as one of the premier blood drives in the country.

Many people of all ages made their appointment times over the 12-hour drive. Jenny Hill, a 17-year-old from Tecumseh, Mich., gave blood early in the day. She said she always wanted to donate blood, but Red Cross policies wouldn't allow it until she turned 17 in July. So this was her first opportunity to be involved with the Spirit of America 800.

"My history teacher asked us if we wanted to participate and of course I said yes because I've always wanted to donate blood," the Tecumseh High School senior said. "It definitely wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Hopefully, I'll be able to give regularly from now on."

Anyone who gave blood during the race-themed blood drive received a commemorative event credential, shirt, hat and pin, lunch, and a tour of the MIS facilities, along with gifts from various sponsors.

Currently the largest single-day blood drive in the Great Lakes Region, the Spirit of America 800 has collected over 3,740 units of blood, enough to possibly help save the lives of 11,220 people.

Spirit of America Blood Drive Totals

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Year Units Collected Potential Lives


2007 962 2,886
2006 789 2,367
2005 646 1,938
2004 535 1,605
2003 433 1,299
2002 375 1,125
Total 3,740 11,220

The Great Lakes Region of the American Red Cross collects blood from volunteer donors in 65 Michigan counties and helps provides blood products to patients in 127 hospitals statewide. In the past 12 months, the American Red Cross has experienced frequent and severe blood shortages. Supplies of critical blood types have been as low as six hours but rarely higher than two days. The Red Cross considers a three-day supply of all blood types to be safe and adequate for meeting emergency and ongoing medical needs.

Sponsors of the sixth annual Spirit of America 800 include: AAA, Addison Graphic Solutions, Advance America, Americrown, Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce, Caterpillar, C&L Sanitation, DDM Marketing & Communications, Defined Wellness Center, digineer, FOX 47, Hendrick Marrow Program, Indy Racing League, Jimmie Johnson Foundation, Kodak, NASCAR Foundation, National Marrow Donor Program, OSB Community Bank, Pepsi, Richard Petty Driving Experience, Stone City Productions, Walton Agency and WinCraft Racing.

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