San Diego

Historic Chargers Blood Drive Forced to Reinvent Itself

Since its start, the single-day blood drive collected more than 2K pints of blood on average but after the Chargers departure to Los Angeles, numbers dwindled

The impact of the Chargers' departure continues to be felt in San Diego.

The latest fallout? The iconic Chargers Blood Drive.

Since its start in 1979, the single-day blood drive collected more than 2,000 pints of blood on average but after the Chargers departure to Los Angeles in 2017, numbers dwindled.

San Diego Blood Bank Chief Executive Officer David Wellis said the 38-year relationship with the Chargers was productive.

"Over the 38 years, we partnered with the Chargers on this drive we’ve collected over 70,000 pints of blood. If you quickly do the math, one pint can save three lives, we saved over 200,000 lives during the course of that blood drive," Wellis said.

After the Chargers left, numerous San Diego sports teams partnered to host a one-day drive and keep the event going but on average they collected less than 600 pints of blood.

Due to the shortfall, the San Diego Blood Bank has decided to end the sports-themed blood drive and rebrand it as "San Diego Cares, A Season of Giving.”

"Our job is to keep enough blood in the San Diego community for those patients in need, so we had to evolve and think of new ways to cover that gap by missing that one big drive," Wellis said.

The rebranded blood drive will be a multi-day effort that will take place at various sporting events, community events, and businesses from late November through early January.

Wellis thinks this could make it easier for the donors.

"It’s not a single day or single place that they have to go, they can go all over San Diego County,' he said. "It will be happening all over, geographically, and happening over the course of a month."

After 38 years of a strong union, Wellis admits the Chargers departure has stung and forced them to rethink ways to keep San Diego stocked with blood.

"Yes it’s a challenge, but I couldn’t think of a better place to actually have that challenge because the community around is so collaborative and wanting to help," he said.

More information about San Diego Cares, A Season of Giving can be found here

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