It’s no secret that Michigan fans have substantial anticipation for the Michigan-OSU game. Now, they put their anticipation to good use: donating for a cause.
Sunday’s “Be a Hero at the Big House” event drew over 800 people to Michigan Stadium. Overlooking the football field at Jack Roth Stadium Club, participants and volunteers engaged in the annual Wolverine vs. Buckeye Challenge for Life, a campaign that encourages people to donate blood and sign up for similar donations.
This year, Be a Hero collected 318 units of blood, making it the biggest donor drive in the 32-year history of the Blood Battle portion of the Wolverine vs. Buckeye Challenge for Life. All blood donations counted toward the U-M Blood Battle tally. Participants could also sign up to donate organs, eyes, and bone marrow.
“All of the partners are talking to common audiences,” Holly Eliot, chairperson for Wolverines for Life and project manager for the University of Michigan Health System Transplant Center, said. “We have run Be a Hero for three consecutive years, and each year it grows exponentially.”
Wolverines for Life is a collaborative effort between the University community, the American Red Cross, Be the Match, Gift of Life Michigan and the Michigan Eye-Bank. For the drive, the collaboration gathered about 200 volunteers to facilitate the booths of the stadium’s fourth floor.
The Michigan-OSU Blood Battle is an annual tradition hosted by the American Red Cross and the Alpha Phi Omega Service Organization. During the month of November, dozens of blood drives are held around campus leading up to the Michigan-OSU football game. Each pint collected is counted towards the University total.
OSU holds the 2012 title, but Michigan is hopeful to reclaim the top spot for 2013.
“We began working on this event in early spring,” Sam Rea, LSA junior and executive officer of Blood Drives United, said.
Approximately 40 student members of APO, the service group, volunteered at the Big House, facilitating blood donor registration, providing assistance to donors at the canteen and selling t-shirts. APO members are also recruiting blood donors and volunteering at drives several times throughout November.
“I saw the Big House drive on the volunteer list and couldn’t pass up an opportunity to work the Blood Battle here,” LSA sophomore Sam Whaley said.
In addition to the pleasure of overseeing the Big House field, participants were given a Blood Battle t-shirt and a Chipotle coupon.
Student volunteers and community volunteers alike put in their work for the common goal of maintaining high donor numbers. Be a Hero acquired 56 organ, tissue and eye donor registrations.
“We’ve been finding at all events we attend that a lot of the people who would want to join the donor registry already have,” Jennifer Tislerics, Gift of Life special events coordinator, said. “It’s a nice problem to have.”
The University won the organ donor portion of the Wolverine vs. Buckeye Challenge last year, and officials said they are hopeful for another win.