While the nation continues to face a blood shortage, two universities in Utah are hoping to collect 2,000 units of blood as part of a friendly competition.
As part of the 18th annual Blood Battle, Utah State University and Weber State University are each working to collect 1,000 units of blood. Timothy Schwen is the North American account manager for the American Red Cross and said this blood drive is unlike any other.
“This one here is kind of unique because it is one of the longest running blood battles in the nation," Schwen said. "It has been going on since 2004. Most blood drives we will do one day or one evening and they will last anywhere from five to six hours.”
The drives for the blood battle will take place next week. Schwen said on average blood drives attract 40 to 45 donors and collect 30 to 35 units of blood.
“So to collect 1000 units in a week is a challenge," he said. "One unit of blood can help up to three people. If each school collected 1000 units we could help three times that much and that’s pretty amazing.”
Because the demand for blood is so high, American Red Cross Executive Director Benjamin Donner said this year’s battle is unique.
“This year it's a little bit different," Donner said. "And the reason I say that, first of all, the goals of what we’re trying to accomplish are larger than really they ever have been in the past but there is a reason behind that. We are going through just challenging times to make sure that we keep up with the demand for blood.”
For more information on how to donate, visit redcrossblood.org.