Different stories for everyone at SOA Blood Drive


As over 1,000 people show up for their appointments for the Spirit of America Blood Drive at Michigan International Speedway on September 11, each person has a unique story about their history of donating blood.

While some people donate regularly and others for the first time, the Spirit of America Blood Drive brings everyone together for two common goals – to donate blood and honor the tragedies of 9-11. It is an event that has shown tremendous success since its inception in 2002 and grown to become one of the largest single-day 9-11 blood drives in the nation.

As the lines to donate grew throughout the day, many people got the opportunity to talk with their fellow donors as they wait for their number to be called. The stories that come from these conversations are inspiring, which makes the Spirit of America Blood Drive what it is – an inspiration for people to take time out of their busy schedules to donate blood.

“I started attending the Spirit of America Blood Drive three years ago and I really enjoy coming back every year,” Dennis Karlson of Farwell, Mich. said. “I am a regular donor [every 56 days] and it’s important for me to take part in this event. I’ve been giving blood since 1992 and I’ve never donated at a drive that brings so many people together like this one. It truly is a special day and a great way to honor 9-11.”

Jamie Nichols, sign manager for MIS, donated blood for the first time today.

“I’ve never donated blood before so what better time to start then now,” Nichols said. “It was a real simple and easy process. I enjoyed my first experience giving blood and will hopefully do it again in the future.”

Final donation numbers for the Spirit of America Blood Drive will be tallied following the conclusion of the event at 7 p.m. Results will be announced on Friday morning.

“No matter what the final numbers are, I am so appreciative to all the people who came out and donated blood for the Spirit of America Blood Drive,” MIS Director of Guest Services and Spirit of America founder Tim Booth said. “I am so pleased with how the drive has brought people together for a great cause.”

Since 2002, the Spirit of America Blood Drive has grown into one of the largest single-day 9-11 blood drives in the nation with more than 3,700 units of blood donated. With 1,300 appointments scheduled, the Great Lakes Region of the American Red Cross is expecting to top over 1,000 units donated for this year’s event.

In six years, 3,740 units of blood have been collected, which had the potential of saving 11,220 lives (each blood unit has the potential to be transfused to up to 3 people).

With each donation, donors received a gift bag, lunch in the Champions Club courtesy of Culver’s, and a track tour, which features Unity Field, a display of 3,000 American flags honoring the victims of 9-11.

The Spirit of America Blood Drive is part of a 28-track effort to support the NASCAR Foundation’s Blood & Marrow Drive. ISC is represented by all 12 of its racetracks throughout the country.

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 129 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 seventh annual Spirit of America Blood Drive include: AAA, Advance America, Americrown, Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce, Chevy Trucks, C&L Sanitation, Coca-Cola, Culver’s, DDM Marketing &

Communications, Defined Wellness Center, FOX 47, Hendrick Marrow Program, Herald Printing, Jackson Community Ambulance, Jimmie Johnson Foundation, Michigan CAT, NASCAR Foundation, National Marrow Donor Program, Nationwide, Richard Petty Driving Experience, Sprint, Vitamin Water and the Walton Agency.

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