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Having a blood drive at a convention is a tradition that started with the science fiction community, specifically by Robert Heinlein and his fans, in the 1960s and is continued today.
Many Star Trek fan clubs (and other fandoms?) sponsor The Red Cross at local conventions as a community service/charity.
The first blood drive hosted at a Star Trek convention was in 1978. In 1981, a fan in the UK asked:
I have just read David Gerrold's column in January's Starlog, in which he mentions a blood-drive, where fans give blood. Wouldn't it be a lovely gesture if a similar set-up could be arranged at British cons? Would it be possible to have the mobile Blood Transfusion Unit set up in the car park of our con hotel for a day?. I'm sure there would be enough people willing to donate their blood and it would show people that we are prepared to help contribute towards the future of others. I for one feel that although STAR TREK has a message worth listening to, we fans seldom do anything to show we actually care about that message. Granted, we donate to charities but, by giving blood, we could help a far greater number of people.