LA QUINTA —Now in its seventh year, the highly anticipated and competitive Annual Nine Cities Challenge Blood Drive is set for July 1-31 in all nine major Valley communities.

The blood drive challenge is hosted by LifeStream Blood Bank, the exclusive provider of blood products and services to all Coachella Valley hospitals.

This year’s Nine Cities Challenge Blood Drive takes place against the backdrop of a severe community blood shortage that could place local patients’ well-being at risk.

The city of Indio has won the majority of the challenges. It is the one to beat while saving lives in the process.

“Our region can and must reach self-sufficiency for providing blood to our loved ones, friends, neighbors and colleagues,” Dr. Rick Axelrod, LifeStream Blood Bank president/CEO and medical director, said. “Right now our community supplies only 80% of the blood needed for our local hospitals.

Axelrod is asking Valley communities to turn around the situation.

7th Annual Nine Cities Challenge Blood Drive Set

Indio police sergeant donating in 2018

“For our community, for the region, most importantly, for local patients in need, ‘be a life saver’ and donate blood during the challenge, and pledge to donate three times per year so our hospitals, first responders, and community never have to worry about a blood shortage,” Axelrod said.

All donors receive a Nine Cities Challenge Blood Drive baseball-style cap and a movie ticket. Below are locations, dates and times to give the gift of life:

LifeStream’s Seventh Annual Nine Cities Challenge Blood Drive locations are:

  • Palm Springs, July 2, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm, College of the Desert*
  • Palm Springs, July 4, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, Palm Springs Air Museum*
  • Palm Springs, July 5, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, Palm Springs Air Museum*
  • Palm Springs, July 6, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, Palm Springs Air Museum*
  • Palm Springs: July 10, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm, College of the Desert*
  • Palm Desert: July 10, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Cravens Student Center
  • Coachella: Thursday, July 11, 12:30 – 6:30 pm, City of Coachella Library
  • Cathedral City: Friday, July 12, 9 am – 3 pm, Cathedral City Senior Center
  • Palm Desert: Saturday, July 13, 8 am – 2 pm, Palm Desert Community Center
  • Palm Springs: July 16, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm, College of the Desert*
  • Rancho Mirage: Wednesday, July 17, 9 am – 3 pm, Rancho Mirage Public Library
  • Desert Hot Springs: Thursday, July 18, 10 am – 3 pm, Desert Hot Springs Senior Center
  • Indian Wells: Friday, July 19, 8 am – 2 pm, Indian Wells Golf Resort
  • Indio: Saturday, July 20, 11 am – 4 pm, Indio Grand Marketplace
  • Palm Springs: July 21, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, Our Savior’s Palm Springs*
  • Palm Springs: July 24, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm, College of the Desert*
  •  Indio: Thursday, July 25, 11 am – 5 pm, City of Indio Teen Center
  • Desert Hot Springs: Friday, July 26, 10 am – 4 pm, Desert Hot Springs Health and Wellness Center
  • Rancho Mirage: Friday, July 26, 10 am – 2 pm, Holt Architecture/Somatherapy Institute
  • La Quinta: Saturday, July 27, 8:30 am – 2:30 pm, City of La Quinta Wellness Center
  • Rancho Mirage: Wednesday, July 31, 11 am – 4 pm, Eisenhower Health, Rancho Mirage
  • La Quinta Donor Center: July 1-31. Tell LifeStream personnel you want your donation counted toward your community’s Nine Cities’ total and receive the baseball-style cap and movie ticket. Hours are 7 am – 2:30 pm daily except Wednesdays when the hours are 10:30 am to 6 pm

*Baseball-style cap and movie ticket not available at this drive.

Walk-ins are welcome at all locations. To set an appointment, call 800-879-4484 or clcik here.

When donating during the Nine Cities Challenge Blood Drive, donors are encouraged to take a photo and share it on social media – and challenge family, friends, co-workers and organizations to donate.

The blood donation process is faster and easier than ever thanks to “ExpressPass.” The day of donation, go to, click on “ExpressPass” and follow the prompts to complete the required pre-donation reading and donor questionnaire before arriving at the collection site.

Donors wanting to be considered for the Nine Cities Challenge Blood Drive must be at least 15 years of age (15- and 16-year-olds require a signed parental consent form; forms are available at all drives); weigh at least 110 pounds; feel well; and present photo ID. Donors should maintain their regular meal schedules and increase their fluid intake (water is best) in the 24 hours prior to donating.

In addition to the main Nine Cities Challenge Blood Drive, all LifeStream blood drives during July, including all businesses and organizations that organize their own drives, will count toward each city’s total. For additional mobile drive opportunities to assist your community during the challenge, contact LifeStream at 800-879-4484 or visit

Donations will be tracked and posted weekly by clicking here. Regardless of which community collects the most blood and earns the title “challenge champion,” the real winners are local patients in need and their loved ones.

The goal of the Nine Cities Challenge Blood Drive is to create a friendly competition among the valley’s cities, their workforce and residents – whereby the motivation to donate blood becomes an event with strong participation and goodwill.

Photo caption above: A San Bernardio police officer donates during the 2018 challenge.



Image Sources

  • Indio police sgt: LifeStream
  • San Bernardino Police Officer: LifeStream filel photo