On the last day of Dragon Con, I found myself wandering down to the lower levels of the Hilton after seeing a sign reading “We Want To Draw Your Blood!” It made me laugh, and reminded me that there were still some ways to give back to Dragon Con after enjoying the weekend full of festivities.
I found another line to join, and after a battery of questions, a finger prick, and some paperwork, I sat down with a bunch of other attendees awaiting the chance to offer up something of theirs to show their appreciation for all that Dragon Con has provided us with over the years.
Dragon Con focuses on quality, and their charity partners are no exception. While some might prefer giving plasma for the payout, the plasma taken at most places doesn’t go to hospitals, but rather to those who can afford to put a few bucks in volunteer pockets.
LifeSouth, on the other hand, partners with Dragon Con to collect donated blood from thousands of individuals (there were over 70,000 members flocking to Atlanta this weekend to partake in 2015’s convention offerings, and several donated a pint to those in need) in order to service local hospitals. For my pint of blood, I got some helpful medical information (like my blood pressure, temperature, hemoglobin count, and blood type), a free t-shirt (stellar design this year, complete with a classic Dracula on the back), a snack, a drink, and most importantly, the knowledge that my blood would be used to help someone directly.
Apart from the blood drive, Dragon Con also takes part in a charity drive every year, and this time around all proceeds went to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, which is a non-profit group responsible for funding innovative research in certain blood cancers — a personal choice, for some, as two members of the Dragon Con team recently passed away due to lymphoma.
With over $100,000 raised (and $50,000 of that matched by the convention itself), Dragon Con strongly encourages charity through an auction, while each track raises money by making it a contest — whether between Hogwarts Houses (Gryffindor won this year in the YA Track), favorite TV shows, or superheroes.
I was also given the opportunity to speak to Eddie McClintock (Pete Lattimer on Warehouse 13) about his charity of choice, the VFW, and the inspiration behind his support, his uncle, who flew gunships during the Vietnam War.
Dragon Con is a fantastic place to soak in the geekery, but it’s also a great partner to quality foundations around the Atlanta area, and it promotes charity while providing Con goers with excellent reasons to donate. There’s no wheedling, no forced giving, and no shady policies. I felt happy to help in any way I could, whether it was donating a pint of blood or some of my money, and I believe the end result for a lot of us is that we’ll be better people for it, and might even begin to look around our own hometowns to see how we can help.
Thanks, Dragon Con, for making us better people while providing the most fun we’ll have all year.