MTSU Community “Bleeds Blue” at Blood Drive

American Red Cross phlebotomist Alisa Waller, left, prepares MTSU junior Daniel Sargent, a native of Portland, Tenn., majoring in leisure, sport and tourism studies, to donate red blood cells.

MURFREESBORO, TN — MTSU is celebrating another 1,300-plus lives to be saved — and winning a trophy for the fifth time, too — after donors stepped up to give more than 460 pints of blood during a three-day communitywide blood drive.

A full house of donors give life-saving blood on the first day of MTSU’s 2017 “Bleed Blue, Beat WKU” blood drive
Monday, Nov, 13, in university’s Recreation Center. MTSU saw 461 successful donors during the Nov. 13-15 drive,
pushing the university community to its fifth win over Western Kentucky in the seven-year competition.
MTSU photos by Andy Heidt

The American Red Cross made the official announcement Nov. 17 during the Blue Raiders’ football clash with longtime blood challengers Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

MTSU donors provided 461 pints of blood Nov. 13-15, while WKU donors gave 389 pints. Each donated pint of blood can save up to three lives, meaning the total 850 pints have the potential of saving 2,550 individuals.

MTSU supporters are now five-time champs in the “Bleed Blue, Beat WKU” challenge, collecting 7,690 total pints of blood with WKU since 2010. The seven-year competition now has helped, or will help, more than 23,070 people across Tennessee and parts of Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.

Some MTSU students said they think the competition goes far beyond who takes home the trophy for most blood donated.

“My biggest takeaway would be that I made a difference for MTSU and the Rutherford County community,” said MTSU junior Grace Worley, a regular blood donor who gave at MTSU again this year.

“Even though donating my blood might not be a big deal for me, it could be an enormous deal for someone on the receiving end of my donation,” she said.

MTSU junior Mari-Lynn Wilson of McMinnville, Tenn., gets support and a big thumbs-up from Lightning, the MTSU mascot, as she donates blood Monday, Nov.13, during the 2017 “Bleed Blue, Beat WKU” blood drive in the Recreation Center.

MTSU alumnus Shane Blissard, whose life was saved by emergency blood transfusions after a 2011 football practice injury, agreed.

“There’s always a need for it,” Blissard said. “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.”

MTSU blood drive coordinator Ray Wiley said he believes that student, faculty and staff unity is a valuable factor in donating to an important cause like this.

“Let’s face it, we need opportunities to do things to help each other,” said Wiley, who’s also MTSU associate director of campus recreation.

Ray Wiley, right, assistant director of MTSU Campus Recreation and a member of the university’s blood drive committee, accepts the American Red Cross “MTSU vs. WKU Fall Blood Drive” challenge trophy from Gene Baker, Red Cross senior account manager for donor recruitment, during a break in the MTSU vs. WKU football game Nov. 20 in Bowling Green, KY.
Photo submitted

“Universities need to take these opportunities when they can get them. It’s special and means something.

“Our committee wants to say thanks to everyone who gave, attempted to give or volunteered to work for making a positive difference by helping others in need and for helping us make this year’s drive a huge success!”

Thanks to the Red Cross “Rapid Pass” app, donors can now track their blood and see where their share of cells is headed by visiting

“It’s a cool thing the Red Cross is doing,” said Wiley. “You can use Rapid Pass for so many things, and it’s way easier to set donor appointments,” Wiley said.

Those who were unable to donate during MTSU’s blood drive can visit anytime and type in their ZIP code to search for and make an appointment at a local drive or blood donation center.

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