Give Blood and Celebrate Al Sigl’s Legacy

Black and white photo of newsman Al Sigl holding a newspaper and speaking into a microphone as part of his daily radio broadcast

Newsman Al Sigl rallied his daily radio listeners to get involved wherever there was a need. On March 18th, 1937, Al Sigl’s 54th birthday, he created what would become the first civilian blood donor registry. He started with a stack of index cards.

On Tuesday, April 9th, join Al Sigl Community of Agencies in honoring this legacy. From 1-6 PM, sign up to donate blood in the gym at our Golisano Campus at 1000 Elmwood Avenue.

Co-hosting the blood drive is 13thirty Cancer Connect, in honor of Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month in April.

To schedule a time to donate as part of this drive, please click here.

Questions? Contact Walk-ins also welcome!

a group of people outdoors in the winter next to a sign that says Rochester Regional Blood Center Unit 01

“Howdy, Neighbors!”

Journalist and radio personality, Al Sigl always began his broadcasts with this signature greeting. In 1937, he created what would become the first civilian blood donor registry after sharing the story of a local child in need of a blood transfusion. He made an on-air plea for donors. It was immediately followed by 600 calls and offers of help from area residents. He wrote down the names and blood types on index cards.

At any hour, in any weather Al Sigl and his network of volunteers were ready to donate when called upon, sometimes traveling great distances. As a result, his efforts garnered national attention. By 1941, Rochester was recognized for having the largest number of blood donors per capita in any U.S. city. By this time, the number of donors in the registry had grown to 16,000 locally and over 95,000 across the U.S.

Because of what Al Sigl and his donors had worked together to achieve, the Legion was absorbed into the American Red Cross in 1948 as part of a pilot program for developing regional blood banks across the country  The pilot, Unit #1, in Rochester, was the first civilian blood collection program in the U.S.

To learn more about other blood drives scheduled across the area, please visit