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Oklahoma blood donors to get free Thunder tickets

BY JESSE OLIVAREZ Published: December 30, 2009
Mustang Middle School eighth-grader Ty Astle has a message for those who haven’t considered giving blood.

"Please do so,” he said. "It’s a really important thing to do. It’s only a few minutes, and for some, it’s really helpful.”

The Oklahoma Blood Institute will host a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today at Cox Convention Center. The blood institute has partnered with the Oklahoma City Thunder to give each donor two free tickets to a Thunder basketball game, while supplies last.

Leslie Gamble, a spokeswoman for the blood institute, said the organization needs to replenish its blood supply, which has dwindled because of the holidays and the snowstorm.

Astle, 13, came to know about the importance of giving blood in September when doctors diagnosed him with aplastic anemia, a condition in which one’s body stops producing enough new blood cells.

He has had more than 14 blood transfusions and will continue to receive transfusions until he finds a donor for a bone marrow transplant.

His mother, Verdean Morrison, organized blood drives at her church and at the school where she teaches.

She said the outpouring of support lifted her family’s spirits.

"The generosity has been amazing,” she said. "It’s something that really does bring out the good in people.”

Giving blood
To schedule an appointment, see a list of other blood drives or donor centers, call (877) 340-8777 or go to

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