THE North Tamworth Bears have drawn first blood on behalf of rugby league in the Tamworth Sporting Blood Challenge.
The challenge, which pits all of the region's sporting codes against each other, encourages players from all sports to roll up their sleeves and donate blood.
Bears players, Luke Fisher, Nic Dobson, Daniel Semms and Josh Schmiedel flew the flag for their club and sport by donating blood on Monday.
"To me, this just seems like the right thing to do," Dobson told the Leader.
"I've got kids and while they have never needed a blood transfusion, it is nice to know that the help is there if they need it.
"You never know when you'll be in that situation, so it is always a good thing to do."
For Dobson, Monday's donation marked the first time he had given blood.
"To be honest, I'm really glad I'm doing it," he said.
"It's a really good thing to do, and who knows, you might just save someone's life."
Schmiedel echoed his teammate's sentiments saying any family could need the support of a blood donation.
"I think it hits really close to home for me and my family because my dad had a bad car accident a few years ago, and he relied on a blood transfusion," Schmiedel said.
"From that perspective, it's really great to give back in a way."
Wise said the challenge had made "a massive impact" in the few short weeks it had been running.
"So far, there has been six different sports represented and a total of 63 lives saved by the donations," Wise said.
"It's been fantastic too see so many people roll up their sleeves and give blood."
Wise said Monday's donation would help rugby league remain competitive in the challenge.
"At this stage soccer is winning the challenge with the most donations," he said.
"However, there is a long way to go, so it would be great to see a few more people get involved."
Fellow Bears player Luke Fisher said the challenge was "a great way to motivate people".
"I think pretty much every club would be really keen to do something like this," Fisher said.
"I know for us at Norths, it was a case of wanting to do it together and giving back something to the community." Semms agreed, saying more of the club's players and followers were likely to donate.
"I think we will have another group coming in to donate later this week or next week" Semms said.