LA QUINTA – In what is being described as the closest finish in  the 8-year history of the Coachella Valley Nine Cities Blood Drive Challenge, Palm Springs nabs the title with a two-pint advantage over Palm Desert.

This is the first title for Palm Springs in the history of the Challenge.

Overall, the initiative resulted in a record 985 pints of blood collected; blood that could assist more than 2,500 local patients. LifeStream is the exclusive provider of blood products and services to all Coachella Valley and High Desert-area hospitals.

“Congratulations to the city of Palm Springs,” Dr. Rick Axelrod, LifeStream’s president, CEO and medical director, said in a prepared statement. “The very close finish, decided at the last drive of the competition, is symbolic of the close calls patients and their loved ones experience every day as they depend on fellow community members to step up and volunteer to help maintain an ample, safe community blood supply.

“We thank everyone who dedicated their time and energy to donate blood; to coordinate blood drives; and to spread the word of this vital community need even as COVID-19 concerns continue to dominate the healthcare news cycle.”

All completed donations were tested for presence of COVID-19 antibodies in the plasma to determine if donors could give future “convalescent plasma” donations that could assist patients currently ill with the virus.

“This testing is continuing,” Axelrod said. “And we encourage the public to keep supporting the act of voluntary blood donation as blood supplies are dangerously low.”

Nine Cities’ awards also were earned by the city of Rancho Mirage for hosting the most successful single blood drive (most units collected) during the two-month campaign; and the city of Indian Wells for greatest donation participation based on percentage of population. Indian Wells satisfied the 1 percent minimum to earn the award.

LifeStream will host a virtual Nine Cities awards ceremony in the near future and follow up by delivering the winning hardware to the respective communities.

The final Nine Cites Blood Drive Challenge standings follow:

  • Palm Springs: 236
  • Palm Desert: 234
  • La Quinta: 106
  • Rancho Mirage: 92
  • Indio: 91
  • Cathedral City: 73
  • Coachella: 56
  • Indian Wells: 56
  • Desert Hot Springs: 41

Voluntary blood donation is a year-around necessity to ensure community well-being,” Dr. Axelrod said. “I challenge healthy community residents to commit to giving blood three times per year. We’d never have a blood shortage with that level of commitment. Thank you.”

For more information including extra COVID-19 precautions LifeStream takes to make donor well-being its top priority, and to set an appointment, call 800-879-4484 or click here.

Image Sources

  • Blood donations: Image by sabin urcelay from Pixabay