Comic-Con 48th Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive 2024

You can either make an appointment online at the links below or at the Blood Drive booth in the Sails Pavilion. All donors will receive the free Deadpool/Wolverine T-shirt and other goodies (while supplies last), plus they have a chance to win one of the many special prizes donated to the Blood Bank by our exhibitors and staff. Prizes are on display at the Blood Drive booth.

Appointments are strongly encouraged for donating at the Hyatt, but they usually take walk-ins, even without a badge.

These appointment links are for donating at the Manchester Grand Hyatt:
Wednesday, July 24:     CLICK HERE to schedule for Wednesday
Thursday, July 25:          CLICK HERE to schedule for Thursday
Friday, July 26:            CLICK HERE to schedule for Friday
Saturday, July 27:          CLICK HERE to schedule for Saturday
Sunday, July 28:             CLICK HERE to schedule for Sunday

2024 Comic-Con Blood Drive Shirt

Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel
Coronado Ballroom, 4th Floor
1 Market Place
San Diego, CA 92101

Wednesday through Saturday
9:00 AM through 6:00 PM
Sunday 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM

If you can’t make it to the Hyatt during the convention, you can still make an appointment to donate for 34 days after the convention at any of San Diego Blood Bank’s 10 Donation Centers or at any mobile blood drive. You do not need a badge. Donors will receive a free Marvel T-shirt (while supplies last). Appointments are required and will be honored first, but walk-ins are welcome. Hours vary. Donate Monday, July 29 through Saturday, August 31. To schedule an appointment at a San Diego Blood Bank location or mobile blood drive in your area, please call (619) 400-8251 or click here.

3636 Gateway Center Avenue, Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 400-8251

3880 Valley Center Drive, Suite 210
San Diego, CA 92130
Located behind Marketplace Grill
(619) 400-8251

1910 Via Centre
Vista, CA 92081
(619) 400-8251

776 Arnele Avenue
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 400-8251

Chula Vista Donor Center at Terra Nova Plaza
386 East H St. Suite 210
Chula Vista, CA 91910
Terra Nova Plaza next to D’Lish restaurant
(619) 400-8251

2850 Womble Rd. Building 30
Suite 101B
San Diego, CA 92106
Located across from the fountain, between Yoga Six and Ikiru Sushi
(619) 400-8251

358 West El Norte Parkway, Suite J
Escondido, CA 92026
Located near IHOP and Dollar Tree
(619) 400-8251

12640 Sabre Springs Parkway, Suite 109
San Diego, CA 92128
(619) 400-8251

4733 Clairemont Drive, Suite F
San Diego, CA
Located between Vons and Happy Nails & Spa
(619) 400-8251

Orange CountySouthern California Blood Bank – Irvine
7 Corporate Park
Suite 130
Irvine, CA 92606
Located by Coffee Dose
(844) 380-5220

Attendees, volunteers, and staff! Donate before the convention and ask for a certificate of donation. Tell them your donation is for Comic-Con and the group code is: CCON

On-site during the convention, bring your certificate to Comic-Con’s Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive at the Hyatt, pick up your T-shirt and giveaways, and see if you have won one of the many special prizes donated to the Blood Bank! Sorry, only one certificate per person will be accepted.


A Brief History of Comic-Con’s Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive

For science fiction fans, few names were as stellar as Robert A. Heinlein. From Starship Troopers to Stranger in a Strange Land, Heinlein was the dean of SF writers. Unfortunately, he rarely attended conventions, so his readers had few opportunities to meet the master in person.

Then in the early 1970s, Heinlein had a life-threatening illness and needed many pints of a rare blood type. He felt he owed his life to the donors, so when asked to be a guest at the 1976 Worldcon in his hometown of Kansas City, he agreed—but with one specific stipulation: that he would only sign autographs for people who donated blood.

Thus, longtime Comic-Con committee member Jackie Estrada approached the author with an offer to hold a blood drive in San Diego if he would consent to be a guest. He agreed, and in 1977 Heinlein came to Comic-Con. He and his wife, Ginny, had a great time and Heinlein even drew a picture for the Sunday morning Art Auction.”David Scroggy [who went on to be a VP at Dark Horse Comics before he retired] was the first blood drive coordinator,” recalls Estrada. “We also had Theodore Sturgeon there signing his book, Some of Your Blood, which he gave to all of the blood donors. We also had entertainment for the people while they were [donating blood]. I remember that Leslie Cabarga played the piano, and C. C. Beck played the guitar. It was a very fun event and Robert was delighted. We’ve had the blood drive every year since.”

A Brief History of Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein photo.
Robert A. Heinlein at San Diego Comic-Con in 1977. Photo by Jackie Estrada

Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was one of the most popular and respected science fiction authors of the 20th Century. By setting a high standard for science and engineering plausibility, he helped raise the genre’s standards of literary quality. He was the first writer to break into mainstream magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post in the late 1940s with unvarnished science fiction. He was also among the first authors of bestselling novel-length science fiction in the modern mass-market era.

Four of Heinlein’s novels (Double Star, Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress) won Hugo Awards in the years they were published. In 2001, another novel (Farmer in the Sky) and a novella (The Man Who Sold the Moon) received “Retro Hugos” for the year 1951, and the movie Destination Moon, which was based on a Heinlein story, received the “Retro Hugo” for Best Dramatic Presentation.

He was the first writer to be named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America for lifetime achievement.

Heinlein was known as the “Dean of Science Fiction Writers,” but he was much more. He was a philanthropist who helped many charitable causes and individuals. When asked how he could be repaid for his help, he would reply, “You can’t pay me back, you have to pay it forward.”

One cause that was of great importance to him was blood donation. Having a rare blood type himself (AB+), he was a frequent donor and a supporter of the National Rare Blood Club, which was an integral part of his novel I Will Fear No Evil. In 1976, at the 34th World Science Fiction Convention in Kansas City, he helped organize the first of many science fiction convention blood drives. In 1977, he did the same at the San Diego Comic-Con.

2024 marks the 48th year of the Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive as an integral part of Comic-Con, and the 16th year of the WonderCon Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Blood Drive.

A Brief History of San Diego Blood Bank

In 1950 the San Diego Blood Bank was established with the support of the San Diego County Medical Society. The foresight and dedication of founding fathers Dr. Thomas O’Connell and Dr. Frederick G. Hollander led us to the San Diego Blood Bank of today, an organization known for excellence in its service to our community.

From 1950 to 1953, annual donations averaged 27,000 pints in San Diego County. In the 1960s, San Diego Blood Bank’s growth continued and so did donations, nearly 40,000 pints were given annually by 1969. In the late 1960s, we were also at the forefront of medical technology when we were one of the first blood banks in California to institute hepatitis screening on all donated blood.

The 1970s ushered in an era of tremendous development. Our landmark Hillcrest headquarters opened in 1972 and our first satellite location, the North County Donor Center, opened in Escondido in 1978.

In 1981 we were among the first blood banks in the nation to formalize a designated donor program, which allows patients to select their donors. Our autologous donor program also was put into place more than 30 years ago for patients who wish to pre-deposit their blood for a planned surgery.

By 1986, donations reached 86,000 pints annually and have exceeded 100,000 for many years now. 

One thing that has not changed since the very beginning is the remarkable commitment and selfless spirit of our most vital resource—blood donors. Our entire donor population is solely volunteer and has been since 1974. Some of today’s donors are as young as 17 and nearly half are women. 

San Diego Blood Bank is licensed by the State of California Department of Health Services and by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is a fully accredited member of the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies (AABB) and a member of the California Blood Bank Society (CBBS), America’s Blood Centers (ABC), Blood Centers of America (BCA), the Blood Centers of California (BCC), and is the local Cord Blood Registry for the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP).