HEALTH

Two Utah universities engage in ‘blood battle’ to help with donor shortages

Sep 12, 2023, 6:37 PM | Updated: Sep 14, 2023, 8:33 am

WEBER COUNTY, Utah — Two Utah universities are competing over which one can draw the most blood to help the American Red Cross.

The blood drive comes as donation numbers have plummeted by about 25%, one of the biggest shortfalls in recent years.

“So we’re trying to do what we can to replenish the nation’s blood supply, and each year, these two universities come together and have a friendly competition, and it helps us restock the shelves,” said Shana Loomis, account manager for the American Red Cross.

A donor reading a book while giving blood.

A donor reading a book while giving blood. (KSL TV)

It’s the 20th annual blood battle, and Utah State University currently holds the title, as they have for the last several years.

“There are a lot of people up here who would like to beat Weber State at anything, and so the need, I think, is what makes people come through the door,” said Nelda Ault-Dyslin, assistant director for USU’s Community Engaged Learning.

Though most donors realize there’s more at stake than a trophy.

“I’ve been trying to donate blood for the last three years,” said Madison Foreman.

The trophy provided by the American Red Cross for the winner of the two schools. (KSL TV)

Foreman said it’s worth pushing through a few challenges that she has been dealing with.

“I’ve always had low blood pressure, and so I’ve finally been able to, like, gain enough weight to where my blood pressure is even with my age and my height,” Foreman said.

Because for her, on the other side of the roughly 30 minutes this process takes, is a person who needs her blood.

“Right now, my cousin, she’s fighting with cancer, and she’s having to do a bunch of blood transfusions at the moment, so I think it’s really beneficial for her and anyone else in the community,” Foreman said.

A donor lifting his hand to help with the blood circulation.

A donor lifting his hand to help with blood circulation. (KSL TV)

A donor could make someone’s day better or possibly save a life. At the very least, they can walk away with a free t-shirt.

The blood drive at Weber State runs Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Shepherd Union building from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s open to the community; you can make an appointment online or simply show up.

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Two Utah universities engage in ‘blood battle’ to help with donor shortages