Santa Cruz Teams Inspire National Blood Drive Series to Save Lives

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The Santa Cruz Derby Girls have inspired the most widely attended series of blood drives in California and a series of blood drives across the United States in partnership with the American Red Cross and Brown Paper Tickets.

Santa Cruz Derby Girls have inspired the most widely attended series of blood drives in California and a national effort for roller derby leagues to motivate their communities to give blood.

In its first 4 years, “Make ‘em Bleed” roller derby blood drives attracted record crowds and collected more than 900 units of blood; enough donations to save 2700 lives.

The Santa Cruz Derby Girls are partnering with six other greater Bay Area roller derby leagues and roller derby teams from coast to coast, Brown Paper Tickets and the American Red Cross to save lives with the fourth annual “Make ‘em Bleed” roller derby blood drive series, July 26 to Dec. 2. The most widely attended blood drive series in California, Make 'em Bleed was inspired by the success of the annual Santa Cruz Derby Girls' blood drive, hosted this year on Friday, Aug. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Santa Cruz Strength, 151 Harvey West Blvd Suite D.

In its first 4 years, “Make ‘em Bleed” roller derby blood drives attracted record crowds and collected more than 900 units of blood; enough donations to save 2700 lives. Roller derby athletes will offer autographs and photo opportunities at the blood drives to inspire the highest levels of attendance and donations.

“‘Make ‘em Bleed’ roller derby drives are more popular than other blood drives, resulting in more donations and lives saved,” said Justin Mueller, American Red Cross representative. “Most of the roller derby drives have skaters in uniform on hand, and there is just a fun vibe about it. The girls are so welcoming, fun and energetic.”

“We hope to double the number of lives saved this year as the success of the California blood drives has inspired roller derby leagues from coast to coast to host a blood drive,“ said Jerry Seltzer, Sonoma-based son of the inventor of roller derby, former commissioner for the sport, former board member for the American Red Cross of California and current outreach representative with Brown Paper Tickets. “Just like almost every roller derby league in the world, Brown Paper Tickets has a community service mission.”

“Summer blood drives are critical to maintaining a healthy community blood supply,” Mueller said. “A single donation can help save multiple lives. You really can make a difference in the life of a local patient in need by giving blood.”

In 2017, the Make ‘em Bleed national roller derby blood drive series is part of World Roller Derby Week, a series of events Aug. 13-19 celebrating the 82nd birthday of the invention of the sport by Leo Seltzer in 1935. Roller derby is one of only three major sports invented in the United States, inspiring generations of athletes and fans. Currently, almost 2000 women’s, men’s and junior leagues are skating, competing and giving back to their communities worldwide.

The 2017 Make ‘Em Bleed Roller Derby Blood Drive Series

Dates and locations being added and updated weekly. For the latest news, check To schedule a convenient appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit and enter the sponsor code: DERBY.

** Blood drives in the California series are marked with a double asterisk (**).

o    Wednesday, July 26 (Pottstown, Pennsylvania): Join the Rockstar Rollerderby from 2-7 p.m. at Ringing Hill Fire Company, 815 White Pine Lane.

o    ** Saturday, July 29 (San Jose, California): Join the Silicon Valley Roller Girls from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Silver Creek Sportsplex, 800 Embedded Way.

o    Saturday, Aug. 5 (St. Petersburg, Florida): Join the Deadly Rival Roller Derby from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Slayground, 4033 35th St N. (donors asked to sign-up to donate at

o    Friday, Aug. 11 (Woodbridge, New Jersey): Join the Dirty Jersey Roller Girls at a time to be announced at the VFW Post.

o    Sunday, Aug. 13 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania): Join the Philly Roller Derby from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Roxborough Memorial Hospital, 5800 Ridge Avenue.

o    Sunday, Aug. 13 (Chicago, Illinois): Join roller derby athletes from across the Midwest for the first annual World Roller Derby Week, a public skate-and-cake blood donor pledge event at Coliseum Park, commemorating the public debut of the sport at that location in Chicago in 1935.

o    ** Friday, Aug. 18 (Santa Cruz, California): Join the Santa Cruz Derby Girls from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Santa Cruz Strength, 151 Harvey West Blvd Suite D.

o    ** Friday, Aug. 18 (Livermore, California): Join the Quad City Derby Bombshells at a time to be announced at Asbury United Methodist Church, 4743 East Ave.

o    Saturday, Aug. 19 (Chicago, Illinois): Join roller derby athletes from across the country for “Time Hop,” at Fleetwood Roller rink. This bout is also a public pledge to donate event where roller derby athletes will skate in the style that the sport made it’s debut in Chicago 82 years ago, in 1935. A limited number of tickets are available online through Brown Paper Tickets at

o    ** Friday, Aug. 25 (Santa Rosa, California): Join the Resurrection Roller Girls and the Sonoma Roller Derby; at a time to be announced at the American Red Cross, 5297 Aero Drive. Both leagues have teamed-up for this blood drive in competition for which league can attract the most blood donor registrants, in competition for the Brown Paper Tickets cup.

o    Sunday, Oct. 29 (Chicago, Illinois): Join roller derby leagues from across the Midwest at from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois, 2200 West Harrison Street Chicago, IL 60612.

o    ** Saturday, Dec. 2 (Antioch, California): Join the Undead Bettys at a time and place to be announced.

Follow the roller derby blood drives at #makeembleed. Any roller derby league wishing to bring the Make ‘Em Bleed roller derby blood drive series to their hometown should email organizers at derbyblooddrive(at)gmail(dot)com.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In-studio or telephone interviews with your local roller derby league, high-resolution photos, video of a Make ‘Em Bleed roller derby blood drive and more are available. Contact Barb Morgen at derbyblooddrive(at)gmail(dot)com or at 206.785.9104 for assistance in getting what you need to build your story.

About the American Red Cross:
American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit

About Brown Paper Tickets:
Brown Paper Tickets ( provides easy, reliable online event registration and ticketing with the lowest fee, the highest level of service, and the largest commitment to roller derby and to social responsibility in the ticketing industry. The ticketing company donates 5 percent of the profits from every ticket sold, pays employees to work 40 hours each year for the cause of their choice, and employs a team of experts in roller derby to give free assistance, and to help the sport grow and thrive.

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Barb Morgen

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