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U-M And OSU Battle To Save Lives Ahead Of Saturday's Football Game

Nov 24, 2017

The view from the Jack Roth Stadium Club where the drive was held.
Credit Todd Kulman

While the big football rivalry plays out at the Big House on Saturday, 89.1 WEMU’s Lisa Barry reports on another competition between the University of Michigan and Ohio State University.


This is the 36th year for the annual “Blood Battle” between U of M and Ohio State.

It’s a three-week competition where supporters of both universities participate in special donation efforts with the American Red Cross.

Former Fab-Fiver Jimmy King who was on-site signing autographs.
Credit Todd Kulman

Todd Kulman is the external communications manager for the American Red Cross in Michigan.

“Both universities aim to collect 2,500 pints of blood each during the three-week challenge,” says Kulman.  “More times than not, they reach their goals.  Sometimes, they fall just a little bit below, sometimes they may actually exceed those goals.”

He says the annual rivalry has many benefits for thousands of people.

“Mothers who may have had premature babies, cancer patients, folks who are in very serious car accidents, organ transplant patients.  Blood goes to so many people who need it,” says Kulman.  “And this is a great time of year to hold this as blood collections start to decline as we head into the holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas and, of course, New Year's.”

Blood recipient Evin Green from Ypsilanti. Evan received more than 30 pints of blood when he underwent double-lung transplant surgery in 2014.
Credit Todd Kulman

Kulman says students, staff, and fans participate in numerous blood donations drives leading up to the big game.

“Both universities have very active Red Cross Clubs--I don't know that’s what it’s called at Ohio State University.  Here at the University of Michigan, we have Wolverines For Life, which is a student group which really gets behind this blood drive.  They really put a lot of effort into it,” says Kulman.

Last year, Michigan won the annual blood battle.

This year’s winner is expected to be announced during halftime at Saturday’s game.

Mascots at the Big House.
Credit Todd Kulman

“The winner will be announced during the Ohio State – Michigan game at the Big House in Ann Arbor on Saturday,” says Kulman.  “There will be a brief ceremony during halftime, and, at that point, the trophy will be awarded to the winning university.  Michigan won it last year, so we’re certainly hoping for a repeat if you will heading into Saturday’s game against the Buckeyes.”

The “Blood Battle” for donations has been held since 1981.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu