The Bengals have been named as recipients of a Special Recognition Award by America's Blood Centers, an organization based in Washington, D.C.
The team earned the award for its work with the annual Bengals Community Blood Drive. Teaming with Cincinnati's Hoxworth Blood Center, the Bengals have sponsored the drive at Paul Brown Stadium for the last five years. The drive has grown exponentially since its inception, as the 483 total blood units donated last October 4 represent a total of more than seven times the inaugural total of 63 in 2002.
The drive is the largest of its kind in Greater Cincinnati.
"The Bengals deserve this award because they challenged Hoxworth to create an event that is larger than we ever expected," said Michael Anderson, Hoxworth public relations director. "The entire organization takes ownership of the drive. Not only do many coaches, players and employees donate, but the team gives us access to any resource we need to make the drive successful."
Eric Ball, Bengals player development director, will accept the award on the team's behalf at the ABC's Awards of Excellence Banquet this Monday (March 26) at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Arlington, Va. The Bengals earned the award specifically for the 2005 drive, as nominations were considered for drives held between September 2005 and September 2006. The 2005 drive collected 401 units.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has been a leader of the drive, making his own donation each year and inviting media coverage that encourages other donors.
"It's a pleasure and a privilege for us to be asked to lend a hand to something that serves such a vital community need," Lewis said. "Every blood donor is a hero, because we all know there is no substitute for this resource, and no other way to obtain it. We congratulate everyone who stepped up, and we urge others to consider making a donation in the near future."