The American Red Cross is partnering with 9/11 Day to offer individuals a chance to help others and commemorate the events of Sept. 11 by giving blood at the fifth annual 'Laps for Life' blood drive at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 'Laps for Life' blood drive begins with an opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. on the Avenue of Flags by the speedway's ticket office and includes a moment of silence at 9:32 a.m. The blood drive will be held in the Champions Pavilion infield area from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

All presenting donors at the 'Laps for Life' blood drive will receive an opportunity to drive their own car around Charlotte Motor Speedway where they will feel the full-tilt force of the 24-degree banking for three laps. Donors also receive two tickets to Bojangles' Pole Night on Oct. 8, a free commemorative T-shirt and a 'Laps for Life' gift bag. Pre-registered donors who make an appointment and are present for their scheduled appointment also receive two tickets to the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for the Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina on Oct. 9.

9/11 Day was launched in 2002 as an annual day of service to honor the victims and heroes of Sept. 11. Since then, it has evolved into the largest annual day of charitable engagement in the U.S. and was designated as a National Day of Service and Remembrance by the U.S. Congress in 2009. Each year tens of millions of people observe the day by performing acts of service and good deeds.

"This annual observance increasingly resonates with people with each passing year, for the benefit of countless people and communities in need, and that's surely gratifying," said Jay S. Winuk, co-founder of 9/11 Day. "Those who participate are making a real difference. The Red Cross is an ideal partner to engage people to step forward, and we're confident that blood donors, volunteers and organizations will answer this call for help while honoring the heroes of 9/11."

Winuk lost his brother Glenn in the 9/11 attacks. Glenn J. Winuk, an attorney with Holland & Knight in downtown Manhattan, served as a volunteer firefighter and EMT for almost 20 years. After helping evacuate the Holland & Knight law offices where he was a partner, he raced to the nearby World Trade Center's south tower to help with rescue efforts. He died when that tower collapsed - a borrowed first-response medical kit was found by his side.

"Giving blood or platelets is a fitting way for people to remember those who lost their lives on 9/11 and to honor the first responders who rose up in response to the attacks and those who serve and protect communities every day," said Chris Newman, spokesperson for the Red Cross Carolinas Region.                           

Those who would like to observe the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance by donating blood are encouraged to make an appointment by visiting and entering the sponsor code "Laps for Life," calling 1-800-RED CROSS or downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App available through the App StoreSM and Google PlayTM.

Blood donors of all types - especially those with types AB, O negative, A negative and B negative - and platelet donors are encouraged to give. Type O negative is the universal blood type that can be transfused to patients of any blood type. It is often used to treat trauma patients and is always in demand by hospitals.

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.