Imagine if the 6,300-plus people of Lynchburg and Moore County suddenly disappeared, or the 2,194 people who live in Thompson’s Station, or the 11,339 who live inside Lewisburg’s city limits.
This isn’t an idea for another horror movie or any sort of terrible wish directed toward all the good folks in those communities.
Those figures are the lives that have been saved by blood donated over the last four years in the ongoing friendly “blood-battle” rivalry between MTSU and Western Kentucky University.
The rivalry with WKU is back for 2014, and supporters of each university once again will be donating blood Sept. 8-10 to help their communities. The winner of this year’s “blood battle” will be announced Sept. 13 during MTSU’s football game with Western at Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro.
MTSU and WKU supporters have rolled up their sleeves and donated 3,843 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 of students, staffers, alumni and friends has provided more than half that total — 2,276 units of blood — in the last four years.
Because each unit of blood can save up to three lives, MTSU’s donors alone have affected as many as 6,828 lives since 2010. The combined MTSU-WKU totals have helped as many as 11,529 people.
Imagine if those blood donors hadn’t given a bit of themselves the last four years.
Your neighbor, critically injured in a car wreck while he drove peacefully to work, might not have been saved by the “universal donor” O-negative blood he received in the emergency room.
Your daughter-in-law, whose happy pregnancy unexpectedly threatened her life, might not have lived to raise your beloved grandbaby without the AB-positive blood three of her co-workers donated on her behalf.
Your friend at church, who developed leukemia when he was a high-school freshman, might not have beaten the disease without the platelets donated to help his body repair itself during chemotherapy.
You, too, might have needed blood for any number of reasons over the last four years. That blood was there because someone took a little time to donate it, or you wouldn’t be reading this column.
The need for donated blood is constant, and answering that need has been especially difficult for the American Red Cross this summer. Donations are down 8 percent, creating a nationwide shortage of more than 80,000 units of desperately needed blood.
The Red Cross Heart of Tennessee Chapter, located on Memorial Boulevard in Murfreesboro, has faced the added inconvenience of nearby road construction as it tries to keep its blood supplies steady this summer.
How can you do your part to help make enough blood available for your neighbors, your loved ones, your co-workers and you, if and when you need it?
Make an appointment now at http://www.redcrossblood.org to donate blood Sept. 8-10 at MTSU’s Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center on Blue Raider Drive. You can enter “MTSU” in the “Find a Blood Drive” box to quickly schedule your appointment. You also can find some helpful tips to make your blood donation a success at http://ow.ly/AiN07.
You can make an appointment between noon and 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9; or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10. All MTSU donors will have free reserved parking at the Rec Center and will receive a T-shirt while supplies last.
Please make your appointment now. Please help MTSU continue to serve the community, and beat WKU, by saving community lives with blood donations.
I’ve made my appointment already, and I hope to see you there. We can tell tales over our juice and cookies!
Gina E. Fann works in MTSU’s Office of News and Media Relations and manages content for the university’s news site, MTSUnews.com. She’s also blessed to be Type O-negative and a platelets donor.