The goal for the UTM Blood Battle, which began this morning, is 400 pints, said Danelle Fabianich, coordinator of campus blood drives.
The annual event runs till 4 p.m. today and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the University Center. Collection buses from Lifeline Blood Services of West Tennessee will be parked in the UC circle. All donors will receive a free T-shirt.
Lifeline public relations coordinator Cherie Parker said that the blood supply for West Tennessee patients is extremely low.
“We need all blood types to meet the demands of the 15 hospitals we serve in West Tennessee,” she said.
“We are in desperate need of all blood types. All surplus blood will be sent to Texas and Florida to help with their emergency needs,” Fabianich said. “Please don’t let the wind and rain deter you from participating in this year’s Battle.”
Parker said that Lifeline must have adequate supplies of all blood types (A, B, AB, O) on hand for patients in need.
“While all blood types are needed all the time, O negative blood has some unique qualities that make it especially important,” she said. “Because patients in the hospital with type O negative blood can only receive blood from an O negative donor, these types of blood shortages are particularly dangerous. O negative patients cannot be switched to any other blood type.”
The September drive collected 316 pints of blood last year, Fabianich said.
“Giving blood is one of the easiest, most selfless things a person can do. It literally saves lives. I understand people have fears when it comes to needles but it is such an important thing,” she said.
“My life and the life of my premature son were saved by blood products when I had complications and an emergency C-section almost 21 years ago,” she said. “I cannot imagine what my parents and my daughter would have had to go through if someone wasn’t generous enough to give the blood that saved our lives. It really is about saving lives – one pint at a time.”
Fabianich has been the coordinator of campus blood drives for 20 years. UTM has had a long partnership with Lifeline because of the large population of potential donors.
The annual Blood Battle started in 1995. It was a contest between UTM and Murray State and lasted until 2012. Fabianich said that UTM still holds the Blood Battle every September to continue helping with the constant need for blood in West Tennessee. A total of 7,572 pints of blood have been collected during the September blood drives (1995-2016), she said.
Fabianich said that anyone in the community also can donate during the campus blood drives.
“We provide the location but do not limit who can give. We love having the outside community on campus any time we can get them here. I think that may be one of the most misunderstood things about our campus-sponsored drives,” Fabianich said.
According to an informational sheet, Lifeline Blood Services has served residents in 17 West Tennessee counties since 1947 as an independent, non-profit community blood center. Its purpose is to ensure West Tennessee patients receive specialized treatments without traveling to metropolitan hospitals.
Future blood drives on campus during the academic year will be held on Nov. 14-15, Feb. 6-7, and April 10-11. The schedule of local off-campus blood drives can be found at http://lifelinebloodserv.org.