This article was originally published on the Cleveland Daily Banner.

Nonprofit regional blood center Blood Assurance has invited the Cleveland and Bradley County community to participate in its annual “I Bleed” initiative beginning Monday, Aug. 15, and continuing until the end of October.

During this time, all donors will receive a customized, limited edition football T-shirt from their choice of the following colleges: Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia Tech, UT-Chattanooga, Tennessee Wesleyan, Tennessee Tech University and East Tennessee State University. These T-shirts will be available at all of the organization’s donor centers and bloodmobiles with the selection varying depending on location.

In addition, individuals who donate blood from August 15-31 will be entered in a drawing to win a pair of tickets to the Battle at Bristol game between the Tennessee Vols and the Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Blood Assurance is excited to bring back our I Bleed promotion, and we hope that many donors will visit a center or bloodmobile throughout the next two months to help us replenish the universal blood supply that suffered during the summer months,” said Mindy Quinn, marketing manager for Blood Assurance.

“We look forward to welcoming students back to school and hope they, as well as every college football fan, will show their support for patients across the region who rely on blood donations every day,” she added.

The entire blood donation process, from registration to post-donation snack, takes less than an hour. Blood Assurance currently needs more than 540 volunteer blood donors each day in order to adequately supply the demand from local hospitals, and just one blood donation can save up to three lives.

Each donation of blood contains plasma, red blood cells and platelets that can be used to save lives of any age, including premature babies, oncology patients, trauma victims, surgery patients and many more.

You can visit any of Blood Assurance’s 15 centers to donate. For operating hours of your nearest blood center, visit or call 1-800-962-0628.

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more, and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids, avoiding caffeine, and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating. Follow @Bloodassurance on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest updates and event details.

Blood Assurance is a nonprofit, full-service regional blood center serving 47 counties and more than 72 health care facilities in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia. Founded in 1972 as a joint effort of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, the Chattanooga Area Hospital Council, and the Chattanooga Jaycees, the mission of Blood Assurance is to provide a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood components to every area patient in need.