First-Ever Cascades Region Blood Telethon Significantly Boosts Blood Donor Signups (Video)

Story by Chad Carter/Red Cross Cascades Region

In a first-of-its-kind local event, the Red Cross Cascades Region and KTVZ (NBC, Bend) recently partnered together to bring a unique and inspiring blood donor telethon event to TV.

During the winter months, blood collection goes down. Way down.

In fact, during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, about 500 fewer blood drives were hosted by volunteer sponsor groups than required to meet patient needs.

In the Oregon-Washington area, we need to collect approximately 515 blood donations and 125 platelet donations each and every day to meet the needs of patients.

That’s where the blood telethon event sprang into action.

On Jan. 7, 2020, together with KTVZ NewsChannel 21, the NBC affiliate in Bend, Oregon, we used 4 1/2 hours of live TV to share the importance of giving blood and connecting viewers with real stories on the impact blood donation can have.

Three KTVZ reporters/anchors donated blood LIVE on TV (two for the very first time!). While reporter Max Goldwasser updated viewers on the progress of the blood drive from the call center throughout the night. Even legendary Bend meteorologist Bob Shaw helped answer phones.

With an initial goal of 50 blood donor appointments, we are proud to say we had to increase that goal twice! In the end, 142 people called to schedule their donation! A true display of the incredible Central Oregon community and those coming together to share in the importance of helping to save a life.

UPDATE (1/16/2020) – We are thrilled to share, the support from the telethon continued for many days after. We had dozens of people continue to call and walk-in to schedule to give blood, boosting our total to more than 180 blood donor appointments.

THANK YOU to everyone who supported and participated in making this event so successful! You are truly helping to save lives.

Watch the video below to see the moment Max Goldwasser announces the results live on the air.

KTVZ reporter Max Goldwasser announces we hit our final updated goal during his final report of the evening!