MTSU Bleed Blue Blood Drive file
MTSU student Mari-Lynn Wilson of McMinnville, Tenn., gets support and a big thumbs-up from Lightning, the MTSU mascot, as she donates blood during the 2017 "Bleed Blue, Beat WKU" blood drive

Want to help make a True Blue difference in the MTSU community? Make an appointment today to donate blood Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 29-31, to save our neighbors’ lives — and continue MTSU’s winning streak in the eighth annual blood drive competition with Conference USA rival Western Kentucky University.

Donors can schedule an appointment from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 29-31 inside MTSU’s Campus Recreation Center, 1848 Blue Raider Drive, by visiting http://www.redcrossblood.org and typing in “MTSU” or using the “American Red Cross Blood” app, available here.

Walk-in donors are welcome, but those with appointments will be processed first and finish their donations faster. On donation day, donors can save even more time by completing the “Rapid Pass” online health questionnaire at http://www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.

MTSU supporters are five-time champs in the “Bleed Blue, Beat WKU” challenge, helping to collect almost 7,700 total pints of blood — more than 961 gallons —with WKU since 2010. Because each unit of blood can aid three different patients, the competition has helped more than 23,000 people across Tennessee and parts of Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.

WKU will conduct its blood drive Oct. 29-31, too, and the university with the most donations will receive the annual challenge trophy at the MTSU vs. WKU football game in Floyd Stadium Friday, Nov. 2.

That game also will serve as MTSU’s annual “Salute to Veterans and Armed Services” celebration honoring U.S. veterans and active-duty military personnel.

Keith Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives at MTSU and a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, has seen blood save lives on battlefields and in operating rooms where loved ones lay. It’s even saved him.

“I saw the value of blood to the men and women in uniform that I served and during the most dire circumstances of injuries or combat-related incidents,” he said of his 38-year military career, “and also to my family as I watch blood being provided by others.

“I would pray that the public doesn’t need to face those life-and-death situations and the trauma associated with it to recognize that blood collection is essential. … So many people go, ‘Gee, you know I want to help people, I want to make a contribution, I want to give back to society, to our community, to our nation.’ And then they come up with this excuse of ‘But, but … gee, I don’t know how. How do I get there? How do I provide something that is of value?’ Here it is. Here’s the answer.

“Here’s an opportunity for you to make a contribution to individuals in need, to our community, to our nation — to do something that is larger than yourself, to make a contribution and to serve those in need, whether it be from the horror of combat or accidents on the roadway or natural disasters.”

Huber explains more about the need to serve our community by donating blood in a brief video at https://youtu.be/g49j4ZTiav8.

The Oct. 29-31 drive is open to all MTSU students, faculty, staff and alumni as well as all MTSU neighbors and supporters across Murfreesboro, Rutherford County and the Midstate.

Kathy Ferrell, executive director of the American Red Cross Heart of Tennessee Chapter, said that while the need for blood is constant and increases during holiday travel, recent deadly weather around the United States has made demand greater and blood supplies more limited.

“Please know that we have lost the opportunity to collect over 7,500 pints of blood as a result of blood drive cancellations in the aftermath of Hurricanes Florence and Michael,” Ferrell said, noting that the loss could affect up to 22,500 patients across the country.

“The need is great, and MTSU is leading efforts to meet that need.”

MTSU donors can prepare for their appointments now by cutting back on caffeine, eating iron-rich foods and getting extra rest. They can visit the Red Cross website for more blood donation suggestions.

Donors will have free reserved parking at the Rec Center Oct. 29-31, and each will receive a T-shirt while supplies last. Director of Athletics Chris Massaro also is giving each MTSU donor four free tickets to the Nov. 24 MTSU vs. University of Alabama-Birmingham football game.

For directions to the Rec Center, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/camprec/directions.php.

For updates and more information about the blood drive, visit http://www.mtsunews.com/bleed-blue-2018 and follow @MTSUNews on Twitter with the hashtags #BleedBlueMTSU and #BleedBlueBeatWKU

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