Photo and story by Sabrina Tyson / Contributing Writer
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Middle Tennessee State University partnered with the American Red Cross to hold the “Bleed Blue to Beat WKU” Blood Drive in the MTSU Recreation Center. MTSU and Western Kentucky University, whose football teams are facing off on Friday, competed throughout the three-day period in their separate blood drives to see who could collect the most blood donations.
“Almost 200 people have been in today,” said Deja Watts, a blood drive volunteer and political science and music major at MTSU. “It’s been a good turnout, and we still have people coming to give blood.”
The American Red Cross provides 40 percent of the blood supply in the U.S., and 80 percent of the supply is collected during traveling donation events such as Bleed Blue to Beat WKU. The organization works with over 58,000 blood drive sponsors to host over 150,000 blood drives per year.
Between the two schools, American Red Cross is hoping to collect enough blood to save about 3,000 lives, according to Gene Baker, the senior account manager with American Red Cross Blood Services. This is the sixth year the competition has been held.
“Competition is excellent for our business,” Baker said. “It’s all about saving more lives.”
MTSU has won the competition four times before, and Baker said he is hopeful that MTSU will be the winning university.
“I’m not going to predict anything, but I feel good about it,” Baker said.
Caroline Moore, a sophomore and nutrition major at MTSU, said that the competition motivated her to participate, but the main reason she decided to donate blood was knowing how it would benefit people.
“When I was growing up, my mom would donate blood all the time,” Moore said. “I heard it first from her how it helps other people.”
The American Red Cross is planning on holding more blood drive events, including a Valentines Day drive and a possible Greek Week drive with MTSU in 2018.
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