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San Jose Sharks Team Up With Stanford Blood Center to Lure New Donors

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- The Red Cross says the nation's blood shortage has reached a critical level and they warn blood rationing could occur. On Saturday, the Stanford Blood Center and the San Jose Sharks teamed up to offer an incentive to encourage fans to give the gift of life.

They've been holding an annual blood drive at the SAP Center for more than 15 years but Saturday's event came at a time of unprecedented need.

"We should see 250 to 235 donors today. The average blood drive is probably closer to 30 so this is a big one," said Elisa Manzanares, donations organizer for the Stanford Blood Center.

Sharks fans were contacted and asked to donate while the entire country is suffering an acute blood shortage.

"We tell people 'if you're healthy and well and able, come on in -- we really, really need you,'" Manzanares said. "We've been in and out of critical a lot. I don't know any other way to put that. Even last week I was putting on emergency, last minute blood drives just to try to bring more in."

She said COVID has halted a lot of blood drives at local schools and businesses and, as a result, hospitals are beginning to postpone or cancel surgeries, especially elective ones.

Stefan Rosner of Palo Alto has a special, universal blood that is so clean it can be used by prematurely-born babies. He enjoys donating but admits he traveled to San Jose Saturday morning because of his love of sports.

"They're offering to raffle off something like 70 pairs of tickets to a hockey game, a Sharks game," he said. "So, I'm kind of excited about that."

In addition to the 70 pairs of tickets, six lucky donors will win a Grand Prize of a "fan experience" -- watching a game from a luxury penthouse suite. While that may have attracted some die-hard fans, it also brought out die-hard donors, like Debbie Teasley. She's given more that five gallons of blood over the years and arrived Saturday sporting an autographed sweatshirt given to her by the team.

"I'm very proud of it," she said. "This is my blood-donating sweatshirt."

The blood collected at the SAP event will be shared locally by peninsula hospitals affiliated with Stanford Medicine. While winning Sharks tickets is nice, the people who donate regularly will tell you they have a more important goal in mind.

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