The Kansas City Chiefs and the Community Blood Center (CBC) came together Wednesday to conclude the Chiefs Week Blood Drive. Members of the Kansas City community were invited to donate blood at Arrowhead Stadium, marking the first time the CBC has hosted a blood drive event inside a professional sports venue.
"This is always a great event for all of our donors and for all of us at the Blood center," said David Graham, the CBC's executive director. "It's been a great relationship with the Chiefs. It inspires a lot of people to give blood. It also gets a lot of attention in the media and it's a great reminder for individuals to come out and donate blood and help us get ready for the holiday season."
Donors who attended the event during Chiefs Week received a commemorative Chiefs T-shirt as well as a chance to win ticket packages for the home contests against the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders later this year at Arrowhead Stadium.
Those donors in attendance at Arrowhead Stadium on Wednesday were afforded the opportunity to meet Dontari Poe, Jaye Howard and other members of the defensive line.
"It feels really good," Poe said of being at the event, "because I needed a lot of people to impact my community when I was a child through whatever I needed. I feel like doing the same thing, it's just all positive. Like I said, people need this more than you would think, so for people to come out in a generous time to give blood, it's a blessing."
Poe and the players signed autographs, took pictures and spoke to the fans about the upcoming game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
They're meeting and greeting our donors and thanking the donors," Graham said of the Chiefs at the blood drive. "We also had one of our blood recipients here, a young woman named Harlee Taylor who received lots of units of blood. She got to meet some of the donors and thank them, share her story and she got to meet the players. It's a really nice way to bring that all together, from the donor to the recipient side."
Harlee, 13, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009, when she was only 6 years old. Her mom, Beth, described that Harlee needed "too many transfusions to count" through the recovery process.
Fast forward to 2015, and Harlee is officially done with chemotherapy and in April of 2016, she will officially be in remission for three years.
The Kansas City Chiefs hosted a blood drive at Arrowhead Stadium. Chiefs defensive linemen stopped by to visit with the donors.
"I don't think a lot of times people understand that people have to selflessly donate in order for people who need it to receive that blood," Beth said, "so it's very cool to come and see the process and to be here seeing all of these people coming out to support that."
Graham expanded on the impact that just one person can provide.
"One donor, through the processing, can actually impact two lives," he said. "One person will make a difference in somebody's life. I don't know of anything else where you can directly impact somebody's life as profoundly as donating blood."
For more information on the Community Blood Center, visit: https://www.savealifenow.org/.