Annual 'Bleed Blue, Beat WKU' blood drive kicks off Monday

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Appointments are still available for MTSU students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters and neighbors to change more lives in the community to "Bleed Blue" in a special community blood drive set for Monday through Wednesday.

Donors can make an appointment to give blood between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. by typing "MTSU19" into the "Find a Blood Drive" box at http://redcrossblood.org or via the new "American Red Cross Blood" app.

The blood drive, a friendly competition between longtime football rivals MTSU and Western Kentucky University, is now in its sixth year.

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MTSU has won four of the competitions and conducted its own successful drive in 2013 when Western wasn't yet part of Conference USA.

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"Our 'Bleed Blue' blood drive is a great opportunity for all of us at MTSU to give back, in a very personal way, to the community and the neighbors that support the university every day," MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said.

The "Bleed Blue, Beat WKU" blood drive will again be held inside MTSU's Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center on Blue Raider Drive.

A searchable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking2015-16, and all MTSU community donors will have free reserved parking at the Rec Center.

The blood drive winner will be announced Saturday, Oct. 10, in Bowling Green, Kentucky, at WKU's Smith Stadium during the football game between the Blue Raiders and the Hilltoppers.

You can listen to Patricia Wright of the American Red Cross in Rutherford County and Ray Wiley, MTSU's associate director of campus recreation, discuss the drive and the need for donors and volunteers on the upcoming "MTSU On the Record" radio program. Their show airs at 8 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ).

MTSU and WKU supporters have donated more than 5,500 units of lifesaving blood since 2010, when the universities started their "blood battle" to help their communities and build up blood supplies for the American Red Cross.

The MTSU community's efforts have provided more than half that total over the last five years.

Because each unit of blood can save up to three lives, MTSU's donors alone have affected nearly 8,000 lives since 2010. The combined MTSU-WKU totals have helped more than 15,500 people in the region -- more than the entire population of Shively, Kentucky, located just southwest of Louisville, or of Dickson, Tennessee, west of Nashville.

This year's donation goal for MTSU is more than 700 units of blood over the three-day drive, creating the potential to affect another 2,000-plus lives for the better.

A 2014 video report from MTSU Department of Electronic Media Communication student Lisa Starke summarizes last year's "Bleed Blue" drive and the constant need for blood.

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