PSU-Michigan State Blood Donor Challenge set for Nov. 2

October 23, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State will continue its friendly rivalry with Michigan State on the donor beds in the 19th annual Penn State vs. Michigan State Blood Donor Challenge, which begins Monday, Oct. 29, and continues through Nov. 15.

This year’s theme is “You Are Destined to Do Great Things … Donate Blood.” The two schools will compete for the largest number of blood donations during the three-week span. The blood collected is necessary to increase the blood inventories in both regions before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Historically, this is a time when patients’ needs remain constant while the number of donors may decrease due to holiday plans and potential illness and inclement weather.

Last year, Penn State lost by 106 pints. However, together, Penn State and Michigan State provided the Greater Alleghenies and the Great Lakes regions of the American Red Cross with 3,886 units of blood. Penn State leads the overall series 12-6 and looks to regain the trophy this year.

The challenge within the Challenge is the Alpha Epsilon Delta Blood Cup, sponsored by Penn State’s premedical honors fraternity. This competition among Penn State student organizations is designed to encourage student donations for the Challenge. Organizations compete in one of three divisions: small group (fewer than 50 members), large group (50 members or more) or the social Greek group. The group in each category with the highest percentage of its membership successfully donating in relation to the number of students in the organization will be awarded the traveling Blood Cup trophy. Last year’s Blood Cup winners were Circle K, Penn State Blue Band and Alpha Phi sorority.

The entire Penn State community is invited and encouraged to donate during the Challenge. Football coach Bill O’Brien has taped public service announcements in support and more than 50 Penn State student organizations sponsor the blood drives. The Challenge helps to increase both blood inventories and increase awareness about the importance of regular blood donation.

All presenting donors will receive a 2012 Blood Donor Challenge T-shirt and a coupon packet from local businesses. All blood drives will feature pizza at the canteen.
Eligible donors may donate up to six times per year. However, at Penn State the average donor gives only 1.7 times per year. A red blood cell product has a shelf life of only 42 days, but a donor must wait 56 days between donations. Therefore, there is a continuing need for donors to step forward to help maintain blood inventory levels.

To prepare for a blood donation get a good night’s rest and drink an extra 16 ounces of water before donating. Eating a good meal two to three hours before donating is important; never donate blood while fasting. A past iron deferral may be temporary; a donor can and is encouraged to try again.  Help maintain a healthy iron level in your diet by eating iron-rich foods, such as spinach, red meat, fish, poultry, beans, iron-fortified cereals and raisins.

Blood donation appointments are strongly recommended and can be made at To volunteer at any blood drive, visit

Donors who are 18 and younger must meet specific height and weight requirements and those 16 years of age must have parental consent. All other potential donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and be generally in good health. Please call the Red Cross Donor Client Support Center at 1-866-236-3276 or visit with specific eligibility questions. 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 October 31, 2012