For the past six years, the Ohio State football team has beaten Michigan. But for the last two years, the Wolverines have won a far bloodier battle — one they will win again this year if their lead holds.
As of Wednesday, Michigan fans have donated 1,749 pints in the American Red Cross’ annual Blood Battle between the two rival schools, which began at the beginning of the month and ends Wednesday. OSU has donated 1,552 pints. The goal for each school is 2,500 pints, said Megan Hartley, a communications associate with the American Red Cross.
“It’s a great way to give back to people, help save lives and also help beat Michigan, which is something everyone at Ohio State wants to do,” said Doire Perot, blood services chair for the American Red Cross Club at OSU.
Candice Hines, a Red Cross donor recruitment representative for campus, knows the importance of donating to the Red Cross.
“I know what the families have been through that have a sick child or sick family member,” Hines said. “I’ve had three people in my family besides me who have received blood.”
Casey Lehman, a third-year in film studies at OSU, donated blood Wednesday.
“It feels good,” he said. “I’m also an organ donor. It’s kind of the same reason I do that. If I don’t really need it — I’m perfectly healthy — if other people need it, I’ll be glad to help.”
Rodney Wilson, communications manager for American Red Cross Ohio Blood Services, said the battle boosts blood supplies for the most important time of the year.
“Holiday times are generally the most challenging periods to collect enough blood,” Wilson said. “People are busier — they’re visiting family, they’re taking time off work. They generally aren’t making time for things such as giving blood. Blood Battle is perfectly timed to help with the Thanksgiving period.”
Wilson also encourages Michigan fans in the area to donate at OSU. Their donation will count toward Michigan’s total.
“We’re trying to play off the friendly rivalry that already exists between OSU and Michigan,” Wilson said. “Anybody who comes to donate blood can vote for which school they want their donation to count for.”
But Hines is hoping to get more Buckeyes to donate so OSU can end Michigan’s two-year winning streak.
“We’re trying really hard,” she said. “We really are pushing for people to get out all the way through the 24th. We hope we have a consistent showing all the way through to make sure we beat Michigan.”
Donating takes about an hour, Hines said, and donors will be asked about risk factors for disease transmission, as well as other questions about their health.
Organizers at the University of Michigan declined to comment.