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2023 Comic-Con® Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive
Comic-Con’s Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive, San Diego Blood Bank’s largest and longest-running blood drive, returns for our 47th year, with donation areas located in the Coronado Ballroom at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, and at San Diego Blood Bank Donation Centers.
The growth of our blood drive over the years has been phenomenal. The Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive began at San Diego Comic-Con back in 1977, at the El Cortez Hotel. That first year, 148 pints of blood were collected, and as the convention has grown, so has our blood drive. In the last year our on-site and offsite drives collected 9,118 pints of blood!
In our long history, a total of 62,825 pints of blood have been donated by Comic-Con attendees, exhibitors, professionals, volunteers, and staff! San Diego Blood Bank estimates that your donations have impacted more than 161,000 lives over the course of our 45 years!
Please join Comic-Con and San Diego Blood Bank for our 46th Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive. Your donations are desperately needed and will save countless lives.
DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN DONATE ANYTIME BEFORE THE CONVENTION!
Attendees, volunteers, and staff! Donate before the convention and ask for a certificate of donation. Tell them your donation is for Comic-Con, and give them our our group code: CCON
On-site, take your certificate to the Blood Drivepick up some giveaways, and see if you won a special prize! Sorry, only one certificate per person will be accepted.
A Brief History of Comic-Con's Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive
For science fiction fans, few names were as stellar as Robert A. Heinlein. From Starship Troopers to Stranger in a Strange Land, Heinlein was the dean of SF writers. Unfortunately, he rarely attended conventions, so his readers had few opportunities to meet the master in person.
Then in the early 1970s, Heinlein had a life-threatening illness and needed many pints of a rare blood type. He felt he owed his life to the donors, so when asked to be a guest at the 1976 World Con in his hometown of Kansas City, he agreed—but with one specific stipulation: that he would only sign autographs for people who donated blood.
Thus, longtime Comic-Con committee member Jackie Estrada approached the author with an offer to hold a blood drive in San Diego if he would consent to being a guest. He agreed, and in 1977 Heinlein came to Comic-Con. He and his wife, Ginny, had a great time and Heinlein even drew a picture for the Sunday morning Art Auction.
"David Scroggy [who went on to be a VP at Dark Horse Comics before he retired] was the first blood drive coordinator," recalls Estrada. "We also had Theodore Sturgeon there signing his book, Some of Your Blood, which he gave to all of the blood donors. We also had entertainment for the people while they were [donating blood]. I remember that Leslie Cabarga played the piano, C. C. Beck played the guitar. It was a very fun event and Robert was delighted. We've had the blood drive every year since."