MTSU grads urge community to donate blood, save lives Nov. 13-15 in 'Bleed Blue, Beat WKU' drive

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MTSU alumnus Shane Blissard, right, and his wife, Abby, are shown in this recent Shane and Abby Blizzard.jpgFacebook photo. Shane Blissard survived a deadly football injury in 2011 with the help of donated blood. (Photo courtesy of Shane Blizzard)

You will get FREE MTSU Bleed Blue T-Shirt if you give blood this coming Monday thru Wednesday (11/13/17 - 11/15/17)...

That was Red Cross volunteer Ray Wiley, who is also the assistant director of MTSU Campus Recreation.

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Another reason to give the gift of life... MTSU alumni Shane Blissard and Danielle Boyd-Garrett will answer that question in a flash: to save lives.

They're encouraging all Blue Raider students, staffers, graduates, neighbors and supporters to make an appointment today at http://redcrossblood.org, keyword "MTSUChallenge," to donate next Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Campus Recreation Center.

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Blissard, a Blue Raider football standout and concrete industry grad (B.S. '12), was accidentally hurt in a spring training camp before his senior season. He initially tried to shrug it off, but a trainer knew something was wrong.

"Long story short was that I had ruptured my spleen and didn't know it and lost a lot of blood internally," Blissard says. "The Red Cross stepped in, and they saved my life by giving me blood transfusions."

Over the course of two emergency surgeries, Blissard received 14-plus pints of blood. The average adult human body holds 10 pints.

"There's always a need for it," Blissard says. "You never know what might happen, and other people will need it eventually. So donating blood is something we all need to do. We all need to participate just to fill the banks so there's never a shortage."

Boyd-Garrett, a 2014 Bachelor of University Studies grad with a double major in Leisure, Sports and Tourism Studies and in organismal biology and ecology, has lived for nearly nine years with blood-clotting disorders.

She was a 17-year-old freshman at the University of Tennessee-Martin when she first needed someone else's blood.

"I got really weak, and all of a sudden I couldn't stop bleeding," she recalls. "My friends and roommates rushed me to the emergency room, and I got a blood transfusion. The next spring it happened again."

Boyd-Garrett finally got a diagnosis five years later: a gene mutation that requires her to take blood thinners to stay healthy and prohibits her from donating blood to help others. She volunteers at blood drives and encourages loved ones, co-workers, neighbors and friends to donate regularly to replenish blood supplies.

"The Red Cross means saving lives," she says, "and 'True Blue' means we stand with each other and for each other. This university taught me that before I went here, and because of blood drives like the one here every year, I was saved. Blood means life."

Donors who want to "Bleed Blue" Nov. 13-15 can also use the "American Red Cross Blood" app, available at http://ow.ly/S39Ke, to make an appointment. They can save even more time on donation day by completing the "Rapid Pass" online health questionnaire at http://www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass just before their appointments.

Walk-in donors will be welcome, but those with appointments will be processed first and finish their donations faster.

Ray Wiley, assistant director of MTSU Campus Recreation, a longtime Red Cross volunteer and one of the "Bleed Blue" drive coordinators, has more information on the upcoming event in a brief video:

MTSU supporters are four-time champs in the "Bleed Blue, Beat WKU" challenge, helping to collect more than 6,800 total pints of blood with WKU since 2010. Because each unit of blood can aid three different patients, the six-year competition has helped more than 20,500 people across Tennessee and parts of Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.

More Details:

MTSU donors will have free reserved parking at the Rec Center Nov. 13-15, and each will receive a T-shirt and two free tickets to MTSU's last home football game of the season while supplies last. For directions to the Rec Center, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/camprec/directions.php.

For updates and more information about the blood drive, follow @MTSUNews on Twitter with the hashtags #BleedBlueMTSU and #BleedBlueBeatWKU.

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