WonderCon Robert A. Heinlein memorial
Blood Drive 2024

2024 will mark the 16th year that WonderCon will host the Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Blood Drive. The drive is co-sponsored by the Heinlein Society and the American Red Cross.

2024 WonderCon Blood Drive t-shirt image.

Each donor will receive a Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire T-shirt and a cloisonné pin designed by Heinlein himself for the first World Con blood drive in Kansas City in 1976, as our way of saying, “Thank you for helping.”

Please consider signing up in advance through the link below. Even if you’re uncertain of your schedule during the con, you can always change it when you arrive. Signing up in advance helps the Red Cross to plan their staffing. Let’s do all we can to reach the limit they can handle.

The Red Cross will be at the Anaheim Convention Center in Room 204AB to collect donations from 12:15 pm to 6:15 pm on Friday, and from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday.

Make a reservation to donate in advance by visiting: American Red Cross.

-OR just stop by the Blood Drive Desk in Lobby B/C to see if they are taking walk-ins, or for any other questions about donating or The Heinlein Society.

Last year the Red Cross collected 129 units of life-saving blood. That was 123% of the goal, and one-third of donations came from first-time donors! 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. Heinlein’s 1951 novel, Between Planets helped popularize the phrase, “Pay It Forward.”

Please make it a point to pay it forward this year and save people’s lives, and have some cookies and juice while you’re at it!

Thank You,
WonderCon Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Blood Drive

Robert A Heinlein
Photo by Jackie Estrada

About Robert A. Heinlein

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 StarStarship TroopersStranger 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&qut; 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, and 2023 marked the 47th year of the Comic-Con Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive as an integral part of that event, and the 15th year of the WonderCon Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Blood Drive.

Robert A. Heinlein at San Diego Comic-Con in 1977.

The Heinlein Society was formed in 2000 to preserve the legacy of Robert A. Heinlein by “paying it forward.” One of the ways the Society is doing this is by promoting blood donation around the world. The group began this effort with an Internet blood drive, encouraging fans to donate at their local blood banks and send their names to the society to be entered into its honor roll, presented to the late Mrs. Virginia Heinlein.

In 2001, at the 59th World Science Fiction Convention in Philadelphia, the society sponsored its first onsite blood drive, with the Red Cross collecting 60 units of blood. Since then the organization has sponsored more than 200 drives, generating more than 48,000 units of blood and saving potentially tens of thousands of lives.

You can learn more about Robert Heinlein and the Heinlein Society at www.heinleinsociety.org. Please join us in “paying it forward” by donating blood at WonderCon Anaheim.

The Heinlein Society logo.