Across Canada

More than bragging rights were on the line this fall for players from the Winnipeg Roller Derby League (WRDL). The league partnered with Canadian Blood Services in Winnipeg for the first ever WRDL Blood Donor Challenge.

WRDL teams Backseat Betties, The Corporation and Valkyries Wrath along with the league’s newest players (aka Fresh Meat) and referees (aka Zebra Crew) went head-to-head to see which team could fill the most donor beds in one month. The challenge was also open to the public to join in and donate on behalf of their favourite derby team.

“Our league strives to give back to our community and blood is something that is used everyday,” says Laura Medwid (aka Foxy FireCracksHer), Director of Operations. “We can all think of a time where a family member needed this service when sick or injured.”

Along with encouraging others to give, players helped raise awareness about the importance of blood donation at the 2011 Roller Derby Championship by wearing their blood type on their uniforms. More than 2,000 derby fans also had an opportunity to have their blood typed at the event held in Winnipeg on Sept. 24, 2011.

“We need to recruit 100,000 new blood donors across the country every year to keep up with hospital demand,” says Patricia Bal, Community Development Coordinator for Canadian Blood Services. “This partnership gives us a chance to reach out to potential donors in a new and exciting way.”

Fittingly, Fresh Meat took the title with 16 blood donations but the competition remained fierce throughout the inaugural challenge.

WRDL players and fans gave more than 50 blood donations—enough blood to help as many as 10 people undergoing cancer treatment.

“Our members all want to do their part to raise awareness regarding donating blood and make sure that our local blood inventory remains high,” says Laura.