WKU, MTSU to face off in blood donation drive

Damon Stone, News reporter

Western Kentucky University and its rival, Middle Tennessee State University, will battle one another next week – not to score the most points on the field, but to collect the most blood.

The universities are gearing up for their 2022 Blood Battle competition, which gathers donated blood for the American Red Cross.

The battle will run Monday, Sept. 26 through Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Blood can be given in the Preston Health and Activity Center. All blood types are accepted.

Grace Lartey, a professor in the WKU Department of Public Health and the coordinator of the undergraduate public health program, is helping to oversee the battle.

“Without it, we were going to be in short supply of blood,” Lartey said. “In 2020, in the midst of COVID, we did not have the competition because many students were not on campus, but we were able to raise enough to get us going […] This year, with COVID and now that we have the vaccines and we know how to handle it, and that we have students back, the competition is back on track.”

The winner will be determined by which school collects the most units of blood by the end of the event.

“We will have that 12 months of bragging rights that we believe we have worked so hard for, and we really need everyone to rally around us to make this happen,” Lartey said. “[…] The overall goal is to make sure the blood bank has enough supplies for one immediate area, and also for the country. Because blood is life – we have a lot of people who depend on blood to be able to survive.”

According to the American Red Cross, donated blood can be used to help those who are in accidents and assist with surgeries, childbirth, chronic anemia, blood disorders, cancer treatments and more.

Lartey hopes those who have never donated blood will see the battle as an opportunity to “get out of their comfort zones.”

“Competition is good because it brings the best out of people,” Lartey said. “Everyone wants to be a winner. So, being a winner means you are going to do everything possible to stay at the top; so it’s a friendly competition, but it helps us to get more units of blood per event.”

In order to schedule an appointment, visit RedCrossBlood.org or download the Blood Donor App, then enter sponsor code “WKU”.

News reporter Damon Stone can be reached at [email protected].