LA QUINTA, Calif. -

Desert Blood Services' second annual 'Nine Cities Blood Drive Challenge' begins on July 1. Last summer, more than 700 lifesaving units of blood were collected for use by patients in local hospitals, coordinators said in a statement Thursday.

In addition to the satisfaction that comes with helping save lives, all donors receive a special edition T-shirt commemorating the Nine Cities' initiative.

At each drive, one donor will win a Desert Blood Services gift basket as well.

Officials said the challenge was created to bring greater awareness to the need for local blood donation to assist local hospital patients, especially during the summer months when collections typically decrease and demand increases.

Desert Blood Services is the exclusive provider of blood products and services for Desert Regional Medical Center, Eisenhower Medical Center, JFK Memorial Hospital, Hi-Desert Medical Center, Palo Verde Hospital and Bush Naval Hospital in Twentynine Palms.

Walk-ins are welcome at all drives but appointments are encouraged. You can schedule an appointment by calling 1-800-879-4484, or by visiting desertbloodservices.org.

Times & Locations:

  • Indian Wells - Tuesday, July 1, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Celebrity Ballroom at Indian Wells Country Club, 44500 Indian Wells
  • Indio - Thursday, July 10, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Indio Teen Center, 81-678 Avenue 46
  • Rancho Mirage - Wednesday, July 16, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., City Council chambers at City Hall, 69-825 Highway 111
  • Palm Desert - Saturday, July 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Palm Desert High School, 74910 Aztec Road
  • La Quinta - Wednesday, July 23, 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Embassy Suites, 50777 Santa Rosa Plaza
  • Palm Springs - Thursday, July 24, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Palm Springs Police Department, 200 S. Civic Drive
  • Coachella - Wednesday, July 30, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Senior Center, 1540 Seventh Street
  • Cathedral City - Thursday, July 3, 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Desert Princess Golf Resort, 67967 Vista Chino
  • Desert Hot Springs - Friday, Aug. 1, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Desert Wellness Center, 11570 Cholla Drive