Nearly 100 people gave a little bit of themselves on Wednesday for a good cause.
The American Red Cross Lifeguard Challenge blood drive capped off the summer-long campaign in Newport Beach on Wednesday.
At the Newport Pier, 97 beach visitors, locals, city staff members and lifeguards volunteered for screening and having their blood drawn. People dared the summer heat and came out to donate 79 units of blood. This all equaled up to a summer total of 159 donations.
“We had a very quiet start to the drive, with fewer than normal walk-ins due to strong west winds that sent many of our usual walk-in donors from the beach and boardwalk home early,” Lifeguard Battalion Chief and drive organizer, Jim Turner, wrote in an email.
He praised the seasonal ocean lifeguards for a providing a strong finish.
“They donated 23 units; 18 donations coming in the last two hours of the drive as guards came in after a full day in the towers. These tower lifeguards have been a mainstay to the success of the two drives,” Turner remarked.
Lifeguard departments up and down the coast work with the Red Cross to host summer blood drives, when shortages annually occur.
Newport is hoping the 159 units of blood donated will surpass their Orange County partners in lifesaving, the Huntington Beach city and California State lifeguards, in a friendly rivalry that benefits the larger community.
“These donations from the community can benefit upwards of 450 people in need,” Turner said.
Lifeguards from the Newport Beach Fire Department hosted the event, which included a burger BBQ for all the donors.