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June 20 Blood Drive Has Special Meaning for NLR Police

Battle of the Badges brings importance of blood donation into focus as officer's son is treated for brain tumor.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) North Little Rock police officers and firefighters typically work in tandem to respond to emergencies. But on June 20, these first responders will battle more than crime and fires to help save lives by partnering with the American Red Cross for a Battle of the Badges blood drive. 

“This blood drive is so amazing because these are people who spend their days and nights responding to emergencies and helping people,” said Brooks Davis, Red Cross donor recruitment representative. “To see them give even more to the community to help is inspiring.”

The two departments will have nine hours to see which one can bring in the most blood donations. One blood donation can help save up to three lives. For the North Little Rock Police Department, the need for blood has recently hit close to home. 

North Little Rock Patrol Sgt. Steve Chamness and his wife Jill have spent countless hours in hospital rooms and doctors offices over the past several months. In November 2013, their 2-year-old son Zach was diagnosed with a brain tumor. While receiving treatment, Zach has received more than 22 blood transfusions and 32 platelet transfusions already. He has received chemotherapy, stem cell transplants and radiation; he could need more transfusions as his treatment continues.

“In the past several months, the importance of blood donation has really come into focus for our department after seeing how much Zach has needed it,” said Sgt. Brian Dedrick of North Little Rock Police. “Seeing the difference it makes, I think we all want to do whatever we can to help Zach and other kids like him.”

The police and fire departments are taking the Battle of the Badges to a new level by competing with each other, but they also have to work as a team to compete with Little Rock first responders, who host their own battle blood drive on June 9. In the end, patients in need are the real winners.

Blood products can be used to help traumatic accident victims, patients undergoing chemotherapy, premature babies and organ transplant recipients, among others. The need for blood is like the need for first responders: it is constant. The hour someone spends giving blood with the Red Cross could change lives forever. 

North Little Rock Battle of the Badges blood drive:
  • June 20 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Patrick Henry Hayes Senior Center Ballroom, 401 W. Pershing, North Little Rock
Over the past seven years, the North Little Rock Battle of the Badges drive has brought in more than 600 blood donations to help patients in need. The departments hope to collect 104 donations this year to continue the lifesaving tradition. Community members are encouraged to come to the drive and donate for one of the departments. All presenting donors will receive a 2014 Battle of the Badges T-shirt, while supplies last. 

The Battle of the Badges blood drive comes at an important time for the Red Cross. During the summer months, donations typically decline. Heat, schools being in recess and family trips can all keep donors from giving blood. However, patients don’t get a summer break from needing blood. 

How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in Arkansas), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
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