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(Photo by Casey Gower/Nashville Post)

The race to save lives in Middle Tennessee is on.

Officials with Blood Assurance are asking residents to start their engines and drive to their nearest donation center to give the gift of life.

The nonprofit has announced a new promotion that will award several donors tickets to the Sunday, Aug. 7 races at the Music City Grand Prix.

Individuals who give blood at any Middle Tennessee donation center (Bellevue, Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Cool Springs, Hermitage and Tullahoma) from July 25-31, will be automatically entered to win two general admission tickets.

One lucky donor from each center will be randomly selected the following week. Additionally, all donors who give blood at a donation center during the aforementioned dates will be given a $20 Amazon or Mastercard gift card.

“We are waving the green flag,” said Jerry Antoine, regional director of operations for Blood Assurance. “This is an opportune time to race to one of our brick-and-mortar facilities and be someone’s hero.”

This summer has proven to be difficult for Blood Assurance. As of Thursday, the blood supply in Middle Tennessee remained critically low. The organization reported less than a two-day supply of O-negative, O-positive and B-negative blood on its shelves.

“All it takes is an hour, if that, out of your day to save local lives. There’s really no easier way to make a difference,” according to Antoine.   

Donors can visit www.bloodassurance.org/schedule, call 800-962-0628, or text BAGIVE to 999777, to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are also accepted.

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.