MURFREESBORO — The MTSU community poured their hearts into this year’s three-day “Bleed Blue, Beat WKU” blood drive, turning out by the hundreds as students, faculty, staff, neighbors and supporters donated blood and volunteered to help save lives across Middle Tennessee.
Now, while they wait for Saturday, Oct. 15, and the announcement of the “blood battle” winner at Floyd Stadium during the Blue Raiders’ homecoming game against Western Kentucky University, some of their donations may be headed to the Atlantic Coast, too.
MTSU is a four-time champion in the six-year blood-drive competition with longtime athletic rival WKU. The drive is the region’s largest each year, Red Cross officials say.
“I’m happy to extend a big thank-you to everyone at MTSU who was involved with the drive this week,” said Patti Wright, donor resources development representative for the Red Cross Tennessee Valley Region Blood Services office in Nashville. “There was a wonderful outpouring of support from across the university community.
“This comes at a great time for us because we’re facing some challenges with blood collections this time of year anyway, plus we’ve also just received emails about Hurricane Matthew. The centers in that area are afraid they might not be able to collect blood, so we may have to send some of ours down there to help them out.”
MTSU Associate Athletic Director Diane Turnham, a longtime donor and an organizer for the annual community blood drive, also expressed her appreciation for those who offered their time and their blood.
“We are so grateful to all our MTSU faculty, staff, students and supporters for coming out in such great fashion to donate blood and help save lives in our community,” Turnham said.
“We all are ever indebted to them for their help, and we hope they’ll come out to homecoming on the 15th and enjoy the game and see who won our blood-drive competition!”
If donors were deferred or couldn’t make it to MTSU for the 2016 “Bleed Blue” blood drive, organizers are encouraging them to come back to campus Tuesday, Nov. 8, for a special blood drive sponsored by MTSU’s Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center.
The event, set for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 8 in Cantrell Hall inside the Tom Jackson Building, 628 Alma Mater Drive, will be a tribute to all veterans in honor of the annual U.S. observance of Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 11.
Donors can once again make use of the Red Cross’s new technology by typing “MTSU19” into the “Find a Blood Drive” box at http://redcrossblood.org to make a Nov. 8 appointment or using the new “American Red Cross Blood” app, available at http://ow.ly/S39Ke.
On donation day, those MTSU donors can save even more time by completing the new “Rapid Pass” online health questionnaire at http://www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass on a desktop or laptop computer.
MTSU students, staffers and supporters have donated 3,232 pints of blood since the annual competition with WKU began in 2010 — the equivalent of 404 gallons of blood and nearly 9,700 lives saved in six years’ time.
WKU is conducting its three-day drive next week on the Bowling Green, Kentucky, campus.
Both MTSU and WKU aim to collect 700 more pints during their three-day drives.
The blood drive is a friendly competition between the longtime football rivals. MTSU conducted its own successful drive in 2013 when Western wasn’t yet part of Conference USA.
For updates and more information about the blood drive, visit http://www.mtsunews.com/bleed-blue-2016 and follow @MTSUNews on Twitter with the hashtag #BleedBlueMTSU.