Bleeding Thunder Blue

The Thunder's fourth annual Holiday Blood Drive supporting the Oklahoma Blood Institute must have seemed like just a typical blood drive to anyone who walked into the Cox Convention Center on Friday.

It had all the regular things – volunteers, needles, cots … bouncy castle.

"The bouncy house may be the best invention for a big kid like myself," laughed Thunder center Cole Aldrich, who, along with teammate Reggie Jackson, visited the blood drive on Friday afternoon.

Like we said, just a typical blood drive.

After the two players got their "workout" in for the day in the inflatable game, they visited with volunteers and donors helping with this life-saving effort.

"The need for blood is always high," Aldrich said. "For everybody to come out here and give blood is really a great thing."

Many of the more than 500 donors showed they were Thunder fans, arriving decked out in team apparel as they proved that they bleed Thunder blue. Donors each received a Rumble T-shirt that affirmed their "blue blood" status.

Earlier in the day, Thunder Girls Sarah and Shonna stopped by the event and decided they wanted to contribute. The ladies both volunteered to donate blood, so they pulled up a cot and joined with the rest of the donors.

"With the Thunder giving Rumble T-shirts away, the Thunder Girls coming out and now these players coming out this afternoon, everyone is so excited," said Leslie Gamble, community relations director for the Oklahoma Blood Institute.

Gamble added that the week between Christmas and New Year's is "the week when we need more donors to come out, and the Thunder has helped us tremendously today."

Even Jackson, who is in his rookie year with the team and still new to Oklahoma, knows that stepping up during times of need is just what Oklahomans do.

"In this community we do things [that are] giving back to the less fortunate … everybody should help each other out, and that's why I believe Oklahoma’s one of the greatest communities I've ever lived in," he noted.