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MIS blood drive honors heroes, victims of 9-11

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Sept. 11, 2015) – More than 460 donors came to donate blood at the Spirit of America Blood Drive at Michigan International Speedway, serving as a strong reminder that America will “never forget” the events of 9/11.

The blood drive at the racetrack began as a tribute in 2002 in honor of the victims and heroes of 9/11. Since its inception, the Spirit of America blood drive has collected more than 10,199 pints of blood, positively affecting more than 30,597 lives.

In 2015 alone about 426 units were collected on Friday. Those donations alone can potentially save 1,278 lives. (Each unit can be transfused to up to three people.) And the speedway was still processing additional donors after 3 p.m.

“I can’t say enough about the countless efforts of donors, volunteers, sponsors, Michigan Blood and MIS employees and the many others who helped make this event a success,” MIS Director of Guest Services and Spirit of America founder Tim Booth said. “A special thanks goes out to all the blood donors. This drive wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for their generosity.”

The Spirit of America has evolved into more than just a blood drive. It’s an event and a time of reflection – all at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.

“It’s obviously a very important event that goes on annually,” donor Douglas Palicki said. “Not only to help others, it’s also in commemoration of what happened on this day 14 years ago. 343 fellow brothers of mine were lost on that day along with police officers and civilians. It’s something that strikes in the heart of all firefighters that I know that want to do more to step up and do what they can to help others. It’s just one way to do this.”

MIS has partnered with Michigan Blood, a nonprofit, community service organization founded in 1955, to host the blood drive for the past three years.

Those who attempted to donate got the opportunity to travel by MIS tram around the track, through the tunnel to the pits, and into MIS’s Home of the Brave, a 4,000-square-foot multi-media exhibit featuring “as it happened videos,” Presidential letters, magazines and newspapers and additional tributes.

Donors were also treated to a breakfast or lunch in the Champions Club presented by CP Federal Credit Union overlooking the track.

At the conclusion of the tour, donors took an up-close view of more than 3,000 American flags proudly displayed at Unity Field to honor the victims of 9-11. The flags, each representing victims of the 9-11 attacks, were placed in the speedway’s Lot 10 by community volunteers, Columbia Central High National Honor Society students and Michigan International Speedway staff.

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