Last Updated on April 04, 2022

DES MOINES, Iowa (April 4, 2022) – Rik Zortman, the human etch a sketch, runs across the country utilizing GPS to sketch primarily names of children fighting cancer. This time, Rik is running to raise awareness about blood donation with LifeServe Blood Center.

“After my son passed away in 2009, I decided that I would honor my son by running,” said Rik Zortman, “I’m happy to help promote blood donation in our communities to impact patients in need.”

LifeServe Blood Center is the sole provider of blood products to more than 130 hospitals across Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Rik has been personally touched by blood donation during his sons battle with brain cancer. During his fight, he received multiple blood products during treatment.

“Cancer patients are the number one recipient of blood products,” said Danielle West, LifeServe Blood Center Director of Public Relations and Marketing. “They often need blood and platelet transfusions after their treatment to help their body recover.”

Rik not only wanted to run the word LifeServe in a local community, he also wanted to drive in blood donors as part of the challenge. Between January, February and March, the Indianola community has been battling against the Grinnell community in a #humanetchasketch challenge to collect the most donations and get Rik to run the word LifeServe in their community.

Throughout the competition both communities collected a total of 433 blood donations which will impact more than 1,200 local lives. Indianola community won the challenge with 229 blood donations over Grinnell’s 204.

To celebrate Indianola’s success, Rik will be running through the Indianola community on Saturday, April 9. Community members are welcome to join Rik during the run. For those interested in joining Rik, they can meet him at 710 E 2nd Ave, Indianola, IA at 10 am.

The route Rik will be running

Click here to learn more about this event. Schedule a lifesaving blood donation appointment online at or call 800.287.4903.

LifeServe Blood Center is a non-profit, community-based blood center that has served the needs of local hospitals and patients in our regions since 1963. As one of the 15 largest blood centers in the country, LifeServe Blood Center is the SOLE provider of blood and blood products to more than 130 hospitals located across Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. LifeServe is committed to saving lives by providing premier service to volunteer blood donors and access to a safe, quality blood supply for hospitals and patients. Your donation with LifeServe will help save your neighbor, a friend or family member or a stranger on the street. YOU make a difference in YOUR community. For more information about blood donation or to schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 800.287.4903 or visit