Todd Lewis gives blood, somewhat apprehensively, April 6. Photos submitted

UPDATED: Titans challenge Bucs to a ‘Bleed Off’

Blood drive challenge extended to April 30

UPDATED: Deadline now extended to April 30 to allow for more donations.

Rugby is a tough sport — it has a ‘blood bin’ after all — but now the Red Deer Titans rugby club will be bleeding for a cause, and are issuing a challenge to the Central Alberta Buccaneers football team while they’re at it.

The teams will duke it out in a “bleed off,” seeing which team will roll up their sleeves and donate the most units to Canadian Blood Services (CBS) up until the deadline, April 30.

Watch a video of Ponoka Bucs player Todd Lewis giving blood here.

“The Red Deer Titans are a family oriented club with many members who are active in the Central Alberta community,” said Jula Bartfai, Titans secretary.

“The blood drive seemed like a perfect way to give back to people who so selflessly donate and support us every year.

“During these uncertain times, it’s important that we show our loyalty to the community by donating what we are able to give. Although we have not done a blood drive in a while, we’re inspired and hopeful to schedule more this year.”

Bartfai happens to be engaged to Bucs secretary and linebacker Todd Lewis, who also coaches the Ponoka Bantam Broncs football team.

“She asked me one night if we’d like to join. I was planning on doing a team drive in April anyways so why not?” said Lewis.

While both say they’re the tougher of the pair in most respects, both agree needles are not Lewis’s strong point.

“When it comes to needles, I’m a wimp. I’m super scared each time I donate, but it’s always easy after the fact,” he said.

The Bucs have made 18 blood donations as a team since 2014, donating at least 150 units of blood ( the actual number is probably higher as players sometimes forget to use the code).

The Bucs are a CBS Partner for Life and give blood regularly during the off-season — about every two months.

Although because of the COVID-19 pandemic the team can’t go as a group like they usually do, team members, family members and fans can make individual appointments and use the code to have it count towards their team’s total donation.

The Bucs give back to the community in other ways as well.

The Bus have run kids’ football camps, organizes an annual food drive in Lacombe that pulls in a minimum of 3,000 pounds of food, have helped out charitable organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Ronald McDonald House, Line of Hope and Whisker Rescue and many other community activities.

“The blood donations are great because they can be done somewhat consistently and make a direct impact in our Alberta community.”

As many people have cancelled their blood donation appointments due to coronavirus concerns, CBS is in need of donations, says Lewis.

“They absolutely need donations right now,” he said.

“If you’re able to, it’d be awesome if you donated, and especially awesome if you did it as a Buc.”

All Bucs should use the code so the donations will count towards the team’s Partner for Life quota.

To donate go to www.blood.ca and book an appointment.

The code for the Titans is RED012009 and the Buccaneers’ code is CENT209520.

Bucs players come from all over central Alberta, including Red Deer, Lacombe, Stettler, Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake, Leduc and Edmonton, and about five or six from Ponoka.

“Despite the pandemic, we’re fully expecting our 2020 season to still happen. We’re still looking for new players, volunteers, and sponsors. Any one interested should message our fan page on Facebook.”

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