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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky fans rallied to donor centers and mobile drives Monday in hopes of reclaiming the trophy from Tennessee in the 35th annual Big Blue Crush, an annual competition vs. Knoxville’s Medic Regional Blood Center to stock the shelves before the Thanksgiving holiday. Kentucky took an early lead in the five-day drive with 436 donors providing lifesaving blood Monday. Tennessee saw 329 donors roll up their sleeves.
Kentucky’s 436 donors mark its biggest first-day Big Blue Crush showing since 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s clear our loyal donors didn’t like giving up the Crush trophy last year,” said Mandy Brajuha, vice president of external relations for KBC. “We are really pleased that Kentuckians answered the call on Monday, but we know this competition is a marathon. We’ll need to keep up that pace to beat the Volunteers, and more importantly, put blood on the shelves for local patients.”
With Big Blue Nation’s help, Kentucky is seeking its third victory in the last four years of the annual Crush competition. KBC leads the friendly rivalry 19-14-1.
Started in 1988, Big Blue Crush was established between KBC and Medic to ensure blood is available for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. The need for blood traditionally increases during holidays while donations are in short supply.
This year’s competition is especially important during the ongoing national blood shortage. KBC has experienced frequent spells of urgent-to-critical need, putting local patients who need blood for everything from cancer treatments to surgeries, traumas, diseases, surgeries and more at risk.
Donors can give blood at any of KBC’s eight donor centers or any mobile drive throughout the week. KBC donor centers, listed below, are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during Big Blue Crush. Mobile drives can be found at kybloodcenter.org/event/big-blue-crush-2022, which includes daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m. drives on UK’s campus.
All Big Blue Crush donors will receive a blue “Football School” long-sleeve shirt, as well as be entered to win four tickets to the UK-Louisville football game on Nov. 26 at Kroger Field. A gray “Basketball School” long-sleeve shirt will be provided in January for Big Blue Slam donors.
Donations with KBC go directly to saving local patients in Kentucky. KBC serves more than 70 hospitals in the Commonwealth and is the exclusive blood provider for UK Healthcare Baptist Health System, Appalachian Regional Healthcare and many others.
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.
Donors can schedule an appointment at kybloodcenter.org or call 800.775.2522. Appointments are highly encouraged during Big Blue Crush. Walk-ins will be accepted as space allows.
Eight donor centers in six cities
Serving more than 90 counties
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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.