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Weekend Comic Con Attendees Spill Some Blood

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By DIANE TURNER-HURNS
Journal & Topics Reporter

As zombies looked for blood and super heroes avoided bloodletting altercations while roaming the halls, blood was running for a good cause during the crowded Wizard World Comic Con convention at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont last weekend.

More than 100,000 people attended the three-day comic convention from Aug. 20-23, officials said.
People were willingly donating their blood at the local Heartland Blood Centers’ (HBC) first blood drive held at the Comic Con. HBC officials told the Journal & Topics Saturday that the drive was a major success, one that will help local area hospitals and patients.

“This is very important for us as we needed to replenish our blood supplies for the local hospitals before the Labor Day (Sept. 7) weekend holiday. This is the first time we’ve had a blood drive at the convention and it has exceeded all of our expectations,” Heartland’s Amy Smith said. “We’ve averaged more than 200 people Thursday (a half-day) and Friday and are about to exceed that number today (Saturday). The pints of blood that we collect go to all the northern Illinois local hospitals.”

Talking with Smith, one could see about 25 people behind the HBC partitions laying down after giving blood and another 15 or so giving blood to the nurses staffing the area. Each donor received a special T-shirt along with refreshments including cookies and orange juice to replenish their energy before going back to the convention.

HBC was set up on the second floor of the event in the DES next to a fleet of about 10 old and new hearses on display and even an area where one could, for a $10 fee, take a “selfie” while lying in a lifesize coffin. There were three on hand to select from.

Around the corner from this display was the “Evil Dead” cabin complete with hospitable southern zombies, which was next door to the zombie laser tag game area.

“Everyone,” Smith said while helping a woman dressed as Batgirl, “has been very kind and helpful, especially when it came to donating their blood for a worthy cause. We have seen people from Rosemont, Des Plaines, California, Kentucky, Indiana, New York and other areas stop by to donate their blood this week.

“We will definitely be back next year. Rosemont is a great town and has been great for us,” Smith said.

HBC, founded in 1943, serves northern Illinois and northwest Indiana. Smith said Heartland provides more than 172,500 units of blood annually to 12 counties and 38 hospitals including Lutheran General in Park Ridge and other Northwest suburban hospitals.

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