MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — MTSU is celebrating another 1,300-plus lives to be saved — and winning a trophy for the fifth time, too — after donors stepped up to give more than 460 pints of blood during a three-day communitywide blood drive.
The American Red Cross made the official announcement Nov. 17 during the Blue Raiders’ football clash with longtime blood challengers Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
MTSU donors provided 461 pints of blood Nov. 13-15, while WKU donors gave 389 pints. Each donated pint of blood can save up to three lives, meaning the total 850 pints have the potential of saving 2,550 individuals.
MTSU supporters are now five-time champs in the “Bleed Blue, Beat WKU” challenge, collecting 7,690 total pints of blood with WKU since 2010. The seven-year competition now has helped, or will help, more than 23,070 people across Tennessee and parts of Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.
Some MTSU students said they think the competition goes far beyond who takes home the trophy for most blood donated.
"My biggest takeaway would be that I made a difference for MTSU and the Rutherford County community," said MTSU junior Grace Worley, a regular blood donor who gave at MTSU again this year.
"Even though donating my blood might not be a big deal for me, it could be an enormous deal for someone on the receiving end of my donation," she said.
MTSU alumnus Shane Blissard, whose life was saved by emergency blood transfusions after a 2011 football practice injury, agreed.
“There's always a need for it,” Blissard says. “You never know what might happen, and other people will need it eventually. So donating blood is something we all need to do. We all need to participate just to fill the banks so there's never a shortage.”
Blood drive coordinator Ray Wiley said he believes that student, faculty and staff unity is a valuable factor in donating to an important cause like this.
"Let's face it, we need opportunities to do things to help each other," said Wiley, who’s MTSU associate director of campus recreation.
"Universities need to take these opportunities when they can get them. It's special and means something.
“Our committee wants to say thanks to everyone who gave, attempted to give or volunteered to work for making a positive difference by helping others in need and for helping us make this year's drive a huge success!”
Thanks to the Red Cross "Rapid Pass" app, donors can now track their blood and see where their share of cells is headed by visiting http://www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.
"It's a cool thing the Red Cross is doing,” said Wiley. “You can use Rapid Pass for so many things, and it's way easier to set donor appointments," Wiley said.
Those who were unable to donate during MTSU’s blood drive can visit http://www.redcrossblood.org anytime and type in their ZIP code to search for and make an appointment at a local drive or blood donation center.