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Appointments are still open to ‘Bleed Blue’ at Oct. 3-5 blood drive

Appointments are still available Monday through Wednesday, Oct. 3-5, for MTSU blood donors ready to “Bleed Blue, Beat WKU” again and help save lives in the community.

2016 Bleed Blue square graphicMTSU students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters and neighbors can type “MTSU19” into the “Find a Blood Drive” box at http://redcrossblood.org or use the new “American Red Cross Blood” app, available here, to schedule a convenient time to donate blood between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Oct. 3-5 at the university’s Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center.

MTSU donors can speed up the process on their scheduled donation day by completing   the new “Rapid Pass” online health questionnaire on a desktop or laptop computer at www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.

The timesaving new website eliminates sitting in line filling out the paper form required of all donors. Each donor should answer the questions on the day of his appointment, then bring a printed or emailed confirmation of the completed questionnaire to show to Red Cross officials. The next step is rolling up your sleeves and relaxing for a few moments while donating blood!

“It’s an opportunity for all of us on the MTSU campus to give back to the community at large and to also give back to our own community here on campus,” said Ray Wiley, assistant director of campus recreation at MTSU and a 30-year volunteer for the American Red Cross.

Click on the Red Cross button to find the new blood donation app.

Click on the Red Cross button to find the new blood donation app.

“It’s an opportunity for staff, faculty and students to work together for a common goal.”

MTSU students, staffers and supporters have donated 3,232 pints of blood since the annual competition began in 2010 — the equivalent of 404 gallons of blood and, because each unit of blood can save up to three lives, nearly 9,700 lives saved in six years’ time.

This year’s MTSU goal is collecting 700 more pints during the three-day drive, and organizers say it’s a challenge the university community will meet.

The blood drive is a friendly competition between longtime football rivals MTSU and Western Kentucky University. MTSU has won four of the competitions and conducted its own successful drive in 2013 when Western wasn’t yet part of Conference USA.

Patricia Wright, left, of the American Red Cross and Ray Wiley, associate director of campus recreation at MTSU, are two of the organizers of the 2016 "Bleed Blue, Beat WKU" campus and community blood drive set Oct. 3-5. (MTSU file photo by News and Media Relations)

Patricia Wright, left, of the American Red Cross and Ray Wiley, associate director of campus recreation at MTSU, are two of the organizers of the 2016 “Bleed Blue, Beat WKU” campus and community blood drive set Oct. 3-5. (MTSU file photo by News and Media Relations)

“When somebody donates blood and they finish and they get off that bed, they’re feeling good, because they know that they’ve saved up to three lives with that pint of blood they’ve donated,” said Patti Wright, donor resources development representative for the Red Cross Tennessee Valley Region Blood Services office in Nashville.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to give people a chance to save lives. We don’t get a chance to do that very often.”

A searchable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap. All MTSU community donors will have free reserved parking at the Rec Center.

Western Kentucky will conduct its blood drive the following week. The winner will be announced Saturday, Oct. 15, during MTSU’s homecoming football game against the Hilltoppers.

Red Cross officials cautioned “Bleed Blue” donors to avoid energy drinks for a few days before their appointments because of new health restrictions on heart rates that could prevent donations.

Participants can find other helpful tips to make their blood donations successful at http://ow.ly/AiN07.

Donors who use the new Red Cross Blood app will also be able to schedule appointment reminders, find more blood drives and track their blood donations, organizers said.

Walk-in “Bleed Blue” donors will still be welcome Oct. 3-5, but organizers are encouraging MTSU donors to make appointments now to get the most convenient times and speedier processing on donation day.

For directions to the Rec Center, visit www.mtsu.edu/camprec/directions.php. For updates and more information about the blood drive, visit www.mtsunews.com/bleed-blue-2016 and follow @MTSUNews on Twitter with the hashtag #BleedBlueMTSU.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Athletic Director Chris Massaro, right, gets a little help from Stefanie Stalmasek of the American Red Cross as he donates blood at the 2015 "Bleed Blue" blood drive inside the Campus Recreation Center. The annual competition between MTSU and Western Kentucky returns Oct. 3-5, and the winner will be announced Oct. 15. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU Athletic Director Chris Massaro, right, gets a little help from Stefanie Stalmasek of the American Red Cross as he donates blood at the 2015 “Bleed Blue” blood drive inside the Campus Recreation Center. The annual competition between MTSU and Western Kentucky returns Oct. 3-5, and the winner will be announced Oct. 15. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)