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15th annual 'Drive for Life' underway

The 15th Annual Interior Drive for Life kicked off Thursday, and Canadian Blood Services is encouraging everyone to roll up their sleeves and give blood during the six week campaign.

From September 6 through October 18, Kelowna and Prince George will be competing to see which city can collect the most blood.

Prince George had won the challenge for three straight years, before Kelowna came out ahead last year with 952 units.

Organizers kicked off this year's challenge with a ribbon cutting ceremony and an appearance from Mayor Walter Gray, who encouraged residents to support the drive.

"The challenge is intended to bring some profile to the clinic itself," says Gray. 

"Because it's so easy to just say 'let someone else give blood,' so I guess I'm back again to try to win for Kelowna."

The mayor also admitted to an ulterior motive for his donation.

"The same standing challenge remains and that is, should we beat Prince George, then the mayor would have to go through the indignity of wearing a Kelowna Rockets jersey during a council meeting."

The opposite will happen if Prince George should win and Gray says having to wear a Cougars jersey won't make him very popular with the Kelowna sports community.

"So we really need the support of the whole community."

As the drive kicked off, a steady flow of people made their way to clinic, including 18 year-old Klyne Postnikoff who was donating for the first time ever.

"I just decided to donate some blood and help people. I knew the challenge was on and Prince George is nice, but Kelowna is better."

Postnikoff added that he expects to continue giving blood as often as he can.

For Corinne Snape, the decision to donate blood was easy.

"I donated many years ago and recently have come back to donate. I had surgery a couple of years ago and needed transfusions, so I'm just giving back."

If you would like to give, the Kelowna clinic is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and alternating Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Canadian Blood Services says their goal is to attract 149 new blood donors and collect 1,408 whole blood donations.

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