The University’s weekend victory over The Ohio State University goes beyond the football field.
For the fourth consecutive year, the University beat OSU in the annual Blood Battle competition. The University collected 2,628 pints of blood — about 200 more pints than OSU — during the two-week contest, which ended Saturday. The University also beat OSU in this semester’s Wolverine-Buckeye Challenge for Life, a donor registration drive competition sponsored by Gift of Life Michigan, by registering about 49,000 more donors than OSU.
The University chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity and the sponsor of Blood Battle, sought to encourage as many people on campus to donate blood to surpass its initial goal of 2,550 pints, said LSA senior Jessie Baker, the Blood Battle chair.
“We wanted to beat OSU, but our main goal was to collect blood to save lives,” she said.
Blood donation stations — which were sponsored by the American Red Cross — were scattered around campus in locations including the Michigan Union, Michigan Stadium and several residence halls.
Baker said promotion of the event around the Diag and through local fundraisers led to a strong turnout at the drives. She added that she and other organizers are excited about the progress that was made by both schools in the Blood Battle, especially because there is a greater need for blood — about 100 more pints than OSU — during the holiday season.
“People don’t donate during the holidays, because they’re not around, and (therefore) the demand is so great,” Baker said.
Anne Murphy, an administrator at the University Hospital Transplant Center, said that like the need for blood, there is also a high demand in the state for organ, tissue and bone marrow donors.
According to University of Michigan Health System statistics, each day 19 people die while waiting for an organ transplant.
“We always have a shortage of donors,” Murphy said. “Right now they’re about 3,000 people in the state of Michigan waiting for organ transplants.”
The Wolverine-Buckeye Challenge placed the University and Ohio State in competition to see which school could generate the greater number of new organ, tissue and bone marrow donors during the 2011 college football season. The University helped to generate about 109,000 new donor list registrants through the Michigan Donor Registry, beating Ohio State’s approximately 60,000 new registrants for the second year in a row, according to Murphy.
“Lives will literally be saved as a result of those people making the decision to sign the donor registry,” she said.