Michigan Stadium will be open Sunday to 'heroes' during massive donor registration drive
The Big House will be open for "Heroes" on Sunday, Nov. 4 as the University of Michigan anticipates its largest donor drive ever.
From 8 a.m. -6 p.m., participants in "Be a Hero at the Big House" are invited to donate blood, to be screened for bone marrow donation, and to sign up for the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
"When you register or donate, you are taking a step that is going to have a very real effect on someone's life," said Bob Garypie, director of development and communication for the U-M Transplant Center. "Organ donation is simply something that people do that saves lives."
According to Mary Masson, senior public relations representative at U-M Health System, every day 19 people die in this country waiting for an organ. A single organ and tissue donor can help as many as 50 people.
"In fact, about 115,000 people currently are waiting for organ transplants, about the same number of people who fill Michigan Stadium for a football game," said Dr. Jeffrey Punch, director of transplantation at U-M's Transplant Center.
Punch says comparing the number of people in need to those attending a U-M football game is part of the motivation behind the U-M and Ohio State Wolverine-Buckeye challenge. The schools compete to collect blood donations, and organ donor sign ups before their annual game, which takes place this year on Nov. 24 at Ohio State. U-M has been the victor in the Wolverine-Buckeye challenge for the last two years.
Masson says that the need for blood donations is even greater following the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. She says that more than 100 blood drives have been cancelled causing a shortfall of thousands of units of blood.
The other important drive Sunday is for participants to resister for bone marrow donations.
"There is no charge to register and no pain," said Garypie. "It is just a cheek swab. A bone marrow transplant is often a last and only resort. If they called me and had a match, it would be a wonderful day. How can you say no?"
Masson says that bone marrow transplants are needed every year by 10,000 patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases.
Parking will be free at the stadium Sunday on the Crisler Arena side. Those who donate will be entered into raffle drawings for a variety of prizes. Participants can also sit in the club-level seats, get souvenir photos with a great view of the Big House, and see the Sugar Bowl Trophy.
To sign up, go to the organization's website and click on the pre-register button. Masson also encourages anyone interested in learning more to view a video about some of the recipients of life-saving donations.