Indio narrowly won the Nine Cities Blood Drive Challenge for the third straight year in the region’s most successful such multi-city blood drive, organizers said Thursday.

With just three more units of blood collected than Palm Desert — 138 for Indio, 135 for Palm Desert — the Coachella Valley’s most populous city won out for a third straight title, while Rancho Mirage, Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs also broke their own individual records for blood collection.

The monthlong drive coordinated by LifeStream Blood Bank yielded 847 units in total, making it the most successful drive in its five-year history.

“We are very gratified by this support for our mission,” said Rick Axelrod, LifeStream president, CEO and medical director. “That several communities also opted to host more than one drive during July, and encouraged residents to credit `their’ city when giving blood at our La Quinta Donor Center came together to provide help to more local patients than ever.”

Palm Desert pulled in the most registrants, while Indian Wells had the largest percentage of its population donating, according to LifeStream.

Donors won a free single-day admission ticket to Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs, as well as a coupon for a free Jack in the Box combo meal. They were also automatically entered into a weekly drawing for a pair of Knott’s Berry Farm tickets and received a free cholesterol screening.

“Everyone who came forward during the challenge to give the precious gift of life by donating blood are heroes to patients in need,” Axelrod said. “Those patients and their loved ones are the real winners of the challenge.”

–City News Service

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