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Posted on Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

U-M wins annual organ donation drive, but Ohio State triumphs in Blood Battle

By Cindy Heflin

Ohio State may have won on the gridiron Saturday, but the University of Michigan won the annual organ donation challenge between the two schools.


Ohio State University won the annual Blood Battle with the University of Michigan, but U-M won the organ donor challenge. Here, Stan Liebaert donates blood on at the Be a Hero at the Big House donor drive earlier this month.

Daniel Brenner |

The U-M signed up 112,780 donors to Ohio State's 68,397 in the Wolverine-Buckeye Challenge for Life that ended at midnight on Thanksgiving, U-M announced in a press release.

Not to be outdone, Ohio State won the two-week Blood Battle contest, which is in its 31st year. The U-M collected 2,232 pints of blood falling short of Ohio State's 2,402.

U-M officials said the real winners are those who are waiting for organ, tissue or cornea transplants or who need crucial blood donations.

Every day, 19 people die while waiting for an organ transplant and another 138 people are added to the national waiting list, U-M said. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and more than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.

The organization Wolverines For Life promotes the two challenges. Wolverines for Life is a collaboration between the U-M Health System, Michigan Athletics and other U-M groups like the community service organization Alpha Phi Omega, along with the American Red Cross, Gift of Life Michigan, the Michigan Eye-Bank and the Be the Match Foundation.

You can still sign up on the state's donor registry at Gift of Life Michigan. The organization, in collaboration with the Michigan Eye-Bank, provides all services necessary for organ, tissue and eye donation.

More information about blood donation opportunities is available from the Red Cross.

Bone marrow donors can join the Be the Match Registry.

Cindy Heflin is associate news director at Contact her at 734-623-2572 or or follow her on Twitter.



Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

"Give it a try now and come back for the blood battle next year." Actually give it a try and come back in 8 weeks! These kinds of event are only modestly successful when they get a lot of blood once a year. They could however be wildly successful if they make regular donors out of some of the participants. You see blood needs go on all year long; it is not concentrated around the OSU /UoM football game. Participants need to learn that they can donate every 8 weeks; and then do so. While this donation event is great, if participants donated just a few more times a year it would make a huge difference. Blood has a shelf life but it is needed all year round. The need takes no vacations so the Red Cross has to rely on a very few regular donors between these big public events. So for me this big show is only really effective if it can make regular donors out of once-a-year donors. In times of crisis, donors can typically be found; September 11th demonstrated that, even without having any need. At other times, though, the Red Cross has to plead for donors. For example, every year around July 4th blood supplies seem to be low. So if you are reading this please consider becoming a regular donor. You will be helping so many people with a unique need that only can be met with your donation. And of course, blood is a renewable resource; so please donate often.


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

I'm not sure if I can even donate.I've been told yes and no by the Red Cross.I got malaria back in 87'.One person said no and another said I could if it hadn't come back for x number of years.( actually my doctor said that the type I had doesn't return )


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

M-Wolverine - Sorry to hear that you didn't have a good experience. I went to the Big House without an appointment. It went very well. Probably took 45 minutes to get to the point of drawing blood. Everyone was nice, gave good instructions and they we're very efficient.


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

Went to donate, had an appointment and everything. After signing in went to wait for the interview portion. Red Cross had one person doing two interviews. Waited 25 minutes and none of the 5 people who were there before me (or 3 after me) had even started getting seen. So I left. Been turned away by them without an appointment; not seen with them. The Ann Arbor branch is horribly disorganized, and certainly could be the difference in that many pints. And I've heard horror stories of rudeness. It's like they're doing me a favor by taking my blood out of my body. I'm done. It can stay where it belongs.


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

This doesn't depend on whether a group of young men are having a good or bad day. We can WIN this next year. Donations take about half an hour, you get to do it lying down, and there is no harm to you. Your body stores red cells in your speen in reserve. In the time between donations, your body is rebuilding reserves, not red cells in your blood stream. Give it a try now and come back for the blood battle next year.