The 18th annual Battle of the Badges blood drive gets under way Thursday and runs through New Year’s Day.
The drive, pitting fire fighters and law enforcement officers in a friendly competition, is intended to maintain a steady supply of blood for more than 100 hospitals in Kansas and Oklahoma, said Terri Dunaway, chief executive officer of the Midway Kansas chapter of the American Red Cross.
There is a reduction in donations during the holidays because students are home from school, many businesses operate only skeleton crews and families are busy with holiday planning and celebrations, she said.
Anyone older than 16 may participate in the blood drive. Those who donate will receive a free T-shirt and can then vote for either fire fighters or law enforcement. The fire fighters lead the overall competition 9-8, though law enforcement won last year.
People can donate at the Wichita Blood Donor Center at 707 N. Main, and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 28 Fire Station No. 21 at 2110 N. 135th West or Fire Station No. 6 at 1010 N. 143rd.
All donors will receive a Battle of the Badges T-shirt.