MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Teamwork makes the dream work. That’s why the Memphis Grizzlies and Anheuser-Busch are partnering with the American Red Cross to help score a win for hospital patients this summer.
Eligible blood donors are invited to roll up a sleeve before the matchup between the Grizzlies and the Portland Trail Blazers at the One Team Blood Drive Friday, July 31, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at FedExForum, 191 Beale St. in downtown Memphis. Free parking is available on Beale Street Alley, between B. B. King Blvd. and 4th St., on the north side of FedExForum.
All presenting donors will be entered into a drawing to win one of two (2) team autographed basketballs. (Winners will be selected in a random drawing to be held after the blood drive and notified via email. Donors must have valid email contact information on record to receive. Items are non-transferrable.)
This event is part of a national partnership between Anheuser-Busch and the Red Cross to increase blood donations during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure patients can continue to receive the medical treatments they need. The Red Cross currently faces an urgent need for blood donations to prevent another blood shortage as hospitals resume surgical procedures and patient treatments that were temporarily paused earlier this spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of a $5 million donation to the Red Cross, Anheuser-Busch alongside its sports partners have identified available arenas and stadiums to be used for temporary blood drive centers, including FedExForum, home of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.
“It’s a small step on a long road, but we’re pleased to have a community-focused event as the first limited activity back in FedExForum,” said Grizzlies Team President Jason Wexler. “When our partner Anheuser-Busch approached us about helping facilitate a blood drive with the American Red Cross, it was just a matter of finding the right date and ensuring we can follow all of the necessary protocols such as mask wearing and social distancing to enable this critical civic need to be met.”
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to ensure the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
“COVID-19 has changed how we all live our lives, but it hasn’t changed Anheuser-Busch’s priorities and our commitments as an employer, a business partner and a corporate citizen,” said Michel Doukeris, CEO, Anheuser-Busch US. “While we can’t solve this crisis on our own, we are proud to do what we can to serve and support our communities in need and the heroes on the front lines, using our capabilities, our relationships, and our reach to do our part.”
In recent weeks, hospital demand for blood products has grown by 30% after sharply declining in early April amid this rapidly changing and complex public health crisis. At the same time, blood drives continue to be canceled as many businesses and community organizations remain closed.
“There is no known end date in this fight against coronavirus, and the Red Cross urgently needs the help of donors and blood drive hosts to ensure blood products are readily available for patients,” said Garry Allison, regional donor services executive, Red Cross Blood Services Tennessee. “Anheuser-Busch has been a longtime partner of the Red Cross, helping identify new ways to use their resources when we need it most. We appreciate their continued support, as well as that of the Memphis Grizzlies and Grizz Nation as we come together as one team to help save lives.”
The Red Cross is now testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies for a limited time, providing donors insight into whether they have been exposed to this coronavirus. Donors will be able to view their results 7-10 days after donation through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or at RedCrossBlood.org.
Healthy individuals who are feeling well are asked to make an appointment to donate by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. The sponsor code for this event is “Grizzlies”.