Comic-Con's Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive Sets Record in 2017!
Comic-Con's Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive is the San Diego Blood Bank's largest and longest-running event. This year we set a record with 2172 donors donating 1855 units of blood! By comparison, in 2016 we collected 1,295 pints of blood over the four-day convention. The growth of our blood drive over the years has been phenomenal. The Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive began at San Diego Comic-Con back in 1977. That first year, 148 pints of blood were collected, and as the convention has grown, so has our blood drive. Over the past 40 years, 17,947 pints of blood have been donated by Comic-Con attendees!
Earlier this year Comic-Con's Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive was named Blood Drive of the Year by America’s Blood Centers, North America's largest network of non-profit community blood centers, which operate more than 600 collection sites. Together, the network supplies half the U.S. blood supply to more than 3,500 hospitals and healthcare facilities across North America.
Check back for more information on the Comic-Con/Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive for 2018!
A Brief History of Comic-Con International's Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive
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 World Con 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 being 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 [now a Vice President at Dark Horse Comics] 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, 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."