PSU-MSU Blood Donor Challenge kicks off Nov. 3

University Park, Pa. — For the 15th year in a row, Penn State and Michigan State will extend their rivalry off the football field, as they compete again in the annual Blood Donor Challenge that pits the two schools against one another in a bid to help their respective communities. This year's Challenge will begin on Nov. 3 and extend through Nov. 20.

Penn State currently holds the trophy that symbolizes life-saving efforts through blood donations. Last year Penn State claimed victory, collecting 2,170 units of blood; Michigan State collected 1,943 units. Overall, Penn State has the lead in the competition, 9-5 over Michigan State. With Penn State having won the last two consecutive Challenges, the American Red Cross is calling all blood donors to help Penn State remain victorious over Michigan State again this year.

"Penn State is a school with lots of tradition, and it would be an honor to hold onto that trophy," said Penn State President Graham Spanier.

Annually, the two schools compete for the largest number of blood donations during the designated time span of the competition. The demand for blood is constant and ongoing. During the Thanksgiving and winter holidays the need remains constant even when the donor turnout decreases. The donor challenge is put in place just in time to increase blood supply for holiday season, with the hope that the enthusiasm surrounding the drive also will raise awareness and reinforce the importance of blood donation.

"While it is the patients who win from this challenge, let's make sure Penn State gets the three-peat and crushes Michigan State again this year," said Jim Starr, CEO of the Greater Alleghenies Blood Region of the American Red Cross.

The winning school will be announced Nov. 22 during halftime at Beaver Stadium when the rivals will battle it out on the football field. University presidents and other representatives will convene on the field to honor the winning school with the traveling trophy.

All presenting donors will receive a 2008 Challenge t-shirt. Additionally, there will be a donor appreciation raffle for all presenting donors, and pizza will be served at the canteen at every drive.

Appointments are strongly recommended, as donors with appointments are given first priority. Appointments can be made at http://www.psuredcross.org online. Individuals that are 17 years or older and weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to donate blood. Pennsylvanians who are 16 years old are eligible to donate with parental consent. Specific eligibility questions may be answered by calling (800) 542-5663. All presenting donors should bring their Red Cross donor cards or other forms of identification to the blood drive.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009