Blood battle with Ohio State to begin Nov. 4

By Christy Song, Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 31, 2013

Looking for another way to beat Ohio State?

The 32nd annual Blood Battle blood drive between the two schools starts Nov. 4 and runs through Nov. 27 leading up to the rivalry football game Nov. 30 at the Big House.

Blood Drives United, a student-run volunteer organization, is holding the annual competition and hopes to collect 2,500 pints of blood over the course of the battle.

Two to four blood drives will be held every day at different locations during the three-week period. In order to find out where the locations will be, students are encouraged to look on the Red Cross website and enter the sponsor code “Go Blue.”

The drives will be held at North and Central Campus locations including the University Unions, the School of Education, the School of Social Work, Michigan Stadium and a number of residence halls.

There are several different aspects about this year’s competition than previous drives. For instance, this year there will be more of an emphasis placed on drives taking place at student residence halls.

BDU is also focusing on involving non-eligible groups, including MSM, men who have sex with men, through sponsor drives and promoting a petition to change the policy.

The current policy prohibits any male who has had sexual contact with another male since 1977 from donating. BDU is proposing changing the discriminating question on the health and history questionnaire that donors fill out as a prerequisite to: “Have you had unprotected sexual contact with a new sexual partner in the past 12 weeks?”

The sponsor drives invite MSM to still attend and bring a friend who is legally able to donate in order to visually show how many possible donors are left out due to this policy.

LSA senior Kevin Weiss, Blood Battle co-chair, said he hopes that those who do not donate will at least encourage others to share.

“We would love for everyone to donate, but if they can’t, they can tell someone to donate; they can get someone to donate, ” Weiss said.

Other than the push for changed MSM policies, there is a stronger emphasis placed on donations this year because of the Red Cross’s recent shortage of blood and platelet donations. The organization issued an emergency request in July because it received 50,000 fewer donations than expected.

All blood types are currently in need, particularly types O negative, A negative and B negative. One blood donation can save up to three lives. Additionally, having lost to OSU last year, BDU is more determined to bring back the title this year.

BDU holds a similar competition every winter, historically against either Michigan State or a group of Big Ten schools, called the Face-Off Blood Challenge. This past January, the University won with 1,011 pints compared to MSU’s 943 pints, making this the fourth win in five years.

Although the competition between the University and Ohio State is fun, Weiss said it is good to work toward a common goal with another school.

“I may not have the greatest love or I may not feel very positive about OSU, but the fact that there are people there that care about the same thing that I do really speaks to what we’re doing.”