Saving Lives at Red Rocks

Visa-Sponsored Effort Signs up Bone-Marrow Donors at Outdoor Concerts

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Red Rocks Amphitheatre is working with the Love Hope Strength Foundation, an international charity that fights cancer through the power of music, and DKMS, the world's largest bone-marrow-donor center, to sign up summer concertgoers for the bone-marrow-donor list. The program is sponsored by Visa.

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The Red Rocks effort is supported by PSAs from artists such as Flight of the Conchords and the Disco Biscuits.

So far this season, the concert venue, based 15 miles outside Denver, has collected more than 2,000 signatures. Last year, a more limited effort found 12 matches, with the potential to save that many lives.

Every year, thousands of people need a compatible bone-marrow donor, yet only three out of 10 patients will receive the transplant that could save their lives, according to DKMS.

Part of the problem is that people have misconceptions about the bone-marrow-donation process. At Red Rocks, the Love Hope Strength Foundation, DKMS and volunteers are trying to resolve these concerns. Concertgoers who sign up give a cheek swab and fill out a registration form to be entered in the national registry. In addition, participants who make a donation to DKMS to offset the $65 registration cost using their Visa credit or debit card are entered in a drawing to win special prizes.

"I am living proof that the bone-marrow registry is a lifesaver, and I know firsthand how hard it can be to find a match due to low numbers in the registry," said leukemia survivor and LHS co-founder James Chippendale in an announcement about the program. "This is a great example of organizations like Visa and Red Rocks coming together to make a huge, life-saving difference and meet these very real challenges head-on."

Visa is underwriting the costs of setting up and running the registration drives at the venue's 64 shows, including collateral such as flyers and video PSAs.

In addition, Denver-area car dealer Ralph Schomp donated a Honda Element for a year to help LHS carry the equipment necessary for setting up its registration site.

The effort is also being supported by musicians playing at Red Rock this summer through a series of public-service announcements to increase awareness of LHS. The PSAs were launched with Grammy-award-winning musicians and stars of the hit HBO comedy "Flight of the Conchords," who did the first video message.

Strategy and marketing for the Red Rocks campaign is handled by Red Robot Entertainment and Fabric Media.

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