INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Blood Center will kick off the 13th annual Bleed Blue Blood Drive and Health Fair at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday, Dec. 8, the largest single-day blood drive each year in the state.
This year's event holds special meaning following Colts' coach Chuck Pagano's battle with leukemia.
Anyone who participates in the blood drive will receive a limited edition Colts football, which in past years, has included the likeness of a Colts' player.
The two organizations agreed in the summer of 2013 to instead highlight the then newly hired Pagano on the commemorative football.
"When Coach Pagano arrived in Indianapolis, one of the first things he talked about was being here to serve, so that we could continue the legacy of philanthropic involvement that is so important to our team," Senior Director of Community Relations for the Indianapolis Colts Stephanie Pemberton said. "Our work with Indiana Blood Center and the Bleed Blue Drive seemed an obvious way to connect him with a powerful community event that engages so many fans and has such an immediate impact on lives across the state.
Indiana Blood Center ordered 14,000 of the regulation-sized NFL footballs with Pagano's image in August to ensure a stable blood supply for patients at Indiana hospitals throughout the holiday season. The footballs attract donors to the Bleed Blue Blood Drive kickoff, at donor centers on select days in late December and on limited mobile blood drives in January 2013.
Appointments for the Bleed Blue Blood Drive at Lucas Oil Stadium Dec. 8 are encouraged.
In 2011, all 2,500 slots were filled in the weeks leading up to the event and given the connection with Pagano, the event is expected to fill even quicker this year.
To schedule a blood donation time, log on to www.colts.com/bleedblue or call Indiana Blood Center at 1-800-632-4722.
The 2012 Bleed Blue Blood Drive and Health Fair will also include a free health fair, access to the field, half price concessions, fitness classes, Colts Cheerleaders and Blue, free parking and more.