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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Every donation counts in this year’s Big Blue Slam with the competition locked in a virtual tie heading into the final day of the annual blood battle.
Florida leads Kentucky be just one donation after four days of collections. Kentucky Blood Center enjoyed its biggest day yet with 282 donors on Thursday. LifeSouth Community Blood Center registered 263 people in Florida, bringing the four-day score to 1,026-1,025.
The 15th annual competition, which calls on fan bases from Kentucky and Florida to stock blood shelves for the winter, will almost certainly come down to the buzzer, or in this case the final few pints of blood. Whoever can bring in the most donors on the final collection day will win the 2023 Big Blue Slam crown.
“Wow, this competition is always close, but the battle this year has been epic,” said Mandy Brajuha, vice president of external relations for KBC. “We called on Big Blue Nation yesterday to help us catch up to Florida, and to no one’s surprise in Kentucky, BBN answered the call. Now we need our biggest push yet. If you’re at home and on the fence about donating, you could be the difference in a Kentucky win or loss, but more importantly, the difference for someone who needs lifesaving blood.”
Donors centers will be open Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Three additional mobile drives are also an option for donors in select parts of the state. KBC will be at the University of Kentucky Gatton Student Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Living Ministries Church in Burkesville from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CT for the Cumberland County Community Blood Drive, and at Whitesburg Plaza in Whitesburg from 1 to 6 p.m. for the Letcher County Community Blood Drive.
The links above will take donors directly to individual drives pages to schedule their donation. Appointments are highly encouraged to process donors in a timely fashion, but walk-ins will be accepted as space allows. Donors can also call 800.775.2522 to schedule a time.
As a thank you for donating, all donors will receive a “Basketball School” long-sleeve shirt and be entered to win two lower-level tickets to the UK-Florida men’s basketball game in Rupp Arena on Feb. 4. A “Football School” long-sleeve shirt was provided to donors for Big Blue Crush in November.
Big Blue Slam is typically a close competition, but this one could be the tightest yet. The 2020 rivalry was decided by just eight donations, with Florida winning that one 1,237-1,229. That Florida victory was its last, as Kentucky has reeled off consecutive wins to take an 8-6 lead. No side has ever won three in a row.
Tapping into the pride and passion of two rabid fan bases, Big Blue Slam calls on fans of the Wildcats and Gators to roll up their sleeves during a challenging time of the year for collections. Winter weather can lead to drive cancellations and illnesses that set donations back, not to mention KBC experienced low donor turnout during the holidays.
Blood donated with Kentucky Blood Center stays in state for local patients at more than 70 hospitals in Kentucky. With one in four people in need of a blood donation during their lifetime, the gift of life plays a critical role in saving the lives of patients battling cancer and other diseases, serves as life support for traumas, aids in surgeries and organ transplants, and so much more.
Blood donors must be at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds, be in general good health, show a photo I.D. and meet additional requirements. Sixteen-year-old donors must have a signed parental permission slip, which can be found at kybloodcenter.org
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Celebrating 55 years of saving lives in Kentucky, KBC is the largest independent, full-service, nonprofit blood center in Kentucky. Licensed by the FDA, KBC’s sole purpose is to collect, process and distribute blood for patients in Kentucky. KBC provides services in 90 Kentucky counties and has donor centers in Lexington, Louisville, Frankfort, Pikeville, Somerset and the Tri-County area.