Sport Clips Huddles in Fort Worth with the American Red Cross
May 31, 2023
By Maribel Flores
The excitement was high on Monday, May 5 at the Fort Worth Convention Center for the 2023 Sport Clips National Huddle in partnership with the American Red Cross, which consists of an annual blood drive campaign each September. At this conference, the Red Cross teamed up with Sport Clips to encourage vital blood donations in exchange for a free haircut to those who donated. Over 2,500 stylists, artists and business owners were in attendance for this annual event with 56 people stepping up to donate and 66 total units of blood collected that day.
It all started in 2008 with Matt Lewis and a sandwich. Lewis is an area developer for Sport Clips based out of North Carolina. During a blood donation stop one day, he received a coupon for a free chicken sandwich. He thought, what a great idea- what if we could give free haircuts in exchange for blood donations?
Lewis then contacted Charlotte’s Red Cross office and soon after began their partnership by dropping off physical coupons to various blood drives in the area. Posters were made and hung at blood drive locations, along with local Sport Clips franchises. The effort started spreading throughout the North Carolina region to include more blood drives. The campaign was a hit, with many returned blood drive coupons across used Sport Clips locations, new customers, and an increase in lifesaving blood donations.
Since then, digital coupons have been added to their annual campaign, but salons still receive the most coupons sent over from blood drives. It’s a symbiotic partnership that has now grown into a national campaign, with more than 417,000 blood and platelet donations collected last September 2022 during the Sport Clips/Race to Give Blood partnership, helping provide critical care to patients in need across the country. The partnership has now run for 9 years, and in 2022, encouraged more than 12,000 first time donors to make their first blood donation.
“I just thought it was something easy you can do, just knowing the benefits. To save a life- why not?" said Lewis, while donating his 10th gallon of blood. Blood technician Bekah Jones and blood drive manager Yanique Joyner were present, kindly and professionally guiding Lewis through the donation process.
“Blood is something you should just do," mentioned Lewis, stating that he began donating blood as a high schooler, now consistently as the Sport Clips campaign has progressed through the years.
Many other donors were also present, including Rodeo Rick Strahan, who was there for the conference with his wife Kerry Oakley-Strahan. “We’re from Hill Country, and try to donate as often as we can,” Strahan mentioned. As the event rolled on, donors continued to show up for their allotted time at the Red Cross tented area, with as many as 10 donors in rotation at a time. Thanks to generous blood donors, the blood drive was hugely successful, with 8 power red units and 58 whole blood units donated that day.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a lifesaving blood donation. Volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need to help treat a variety of patients including trauma victims, surgery patients and those undergoing cancer treatments.