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Blood drive returns to San Diego Comic-Con

Comic-con blood drive
Posted at 6:20 PM, Jul 19, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – In the middle of the hustle and bustle of panels and off-site events, several attendees roll up their sleeves and donate blood during San Diego Comic-Con.

“My wife and I have donated blood in the past, we just see it as a good civic responsibility, something good to do,” said Nicholas Frost, a Comic-Con blood donor.

The annual San Diego Comic-Con Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive kicked off Wednesday at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. It's an opportunity for attendees to become superheroes and help save lives.

“It’s the perfect partnership with San Diego Blood Bank because everybody wants to be a super hero and this is a very easy way to be a super hero,” said Cindy Rascon, a Comic-Con blood donor.

The blood drive was inspired by renowned science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein, though he rarely attended conventions. In the early 1970s, he had a life-threatening illness that required many pints of a rare blood type. He felt he owed his life to donors, so when he agreed to attend the 1976 World Con, he would only sign autographs for people who donated blood, according to the SDCC website.

Longtime SDCC committee member Jackie Estrada consulted with Heinlein to hold a blood drive if he would attend, and he agreed, beginning the longstanding tradition at the convention.

"David Scroggy [who went on to be a VP at Dark Horse Comics before he retired] was the first blood drive coordinator," Estrada says of the drive on SDCC's website. "We also had Theodore Sturgeon there signing his book, Some of Your Blood, which he gave to all of the blood donors. We also entertained the people while they were [donating blood]. I remember that Leslie Cabarga played the piano, C. C. Beck played the guitar. It was a very fun event and Robert was delighted. We've had the blood drive every year since."

Although this year's comic-con will be slightly different, the blood drive will continue.

The San Diego Blood Bank will hold a drive each day of the convention-from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday — at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in the Coronado Ballroom. To set up an appointment, click here.

Those who donate blood will receive a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 T-shirt while supplies last.

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The San Diego Blood Bank said that over the last 46 years, donors at Comic-Con have donated 62,825 pints of blood. The bank estimates that the donation has impacted more than 188,475 lives.

For more information, visit the San Diego Blood Bank website.