With ‘Beat Michigan Week’ days away, Buckeye fans can lend their support in defeating Michigan by bleeding scarlet and gray to save lives.
The annual Ohio State-Michigan Blood Battle takes advantage of one of the largest rivalries in college football and pits the two universities against one another to see which can raise the most blood donations in the weeks leading up to the game.
The competition runs through Nov. 22 with numerous blood drives being held at locations around campus. Participants on campus can make their vote count for Ohio State by using the code "buckeyes" when they give. Results of the Blood Battle will be announced during the Nov. 25 game in Ann Arbor, and members of the American Red Cross Club at Ohio State have set a goal of 2,500 pints of blood, but hope to reach 3,000 for the first time. This year, participants can also support their team's effort by making a monetary donation to the cause.
“Everyone is so enthusiastic and hyped up about it because it is another way to beat Michigan and it is for a good cause,” says Brandi Johnson, president of the American Red Cross Club at Ohio State. “It’s nice to know you are making a difference in not only your community, but sometimes the nation in general. Like whenever you donate — I just got an email the other day saying that my latest blood donation went to the Wexner Medical Center so it’s nice to know like I could be helping someone I know."
History off the field
In 1982, students of Alpha Phi Omega, a service organization at Michigan, collaborated with the American Red Cross to start a blood competition between their school and Ohio State. The November timing coincided not only with The Game, but also a time of year when the Red Cross traditionally had a lower blood supply.
Michigan won the first blood battle (but lost The Game) and leads the overall series 20-14. Ohio State has won three of the last five.
Over the course of its history, the Blood Battle has grown into one of the largest blood competitions in the country with fans from Ohio State and Michigan combining to donate nearly 215,000 pints of blood. With each donation saving up to three lives, the competition has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals in critical need of blood every year.
No bad blood here
In the United States, someone requires blood every two seconds and more than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day. By using the rivalry to fuel competition between the two schools, members outside the football community can not only fight for their school, but give the gift of life to individuals in their community.
“It’s a cause that everyone benefits from. It doesn’t towards a specific population, it’s something that is beneficial all around,” says Kevin Gramajo, vice president of marketing for Ohio State's American Red Cross Club.
Although only one university receives top honors, the real winners of the Blood Battle are always the patients who rely on potentially lifesaving blood transfusions to help them through injury and illness.
“The blood donations help beat Michigan, but they also help so many people live another day,” says Rodney Wilson, external communications manager for the American Red Cross. “Blood Battle blood donations could mean a child with cancer can get the treatment he needs, or a new mother survives birth complications to go home with her new baby.”