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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Despite a slight setback in donor turnout Tuesday, Kentucky increased its lead over Tennessee in the 35th annual Big Blue Crush.
With 368 donors on day two, 804 Kentuckians have rolled up their sleeves for Kentucky Blood Center in the yearly drive vs. Knoxville’s MEDIC Regional Blood Center to boost the blood supply for the Thanksgiving holiday. Tennessee improved on its first-day showing with 338 donors Tuesday to get to 667 overall.
“We didn’t see quite the turnout we had on Monday, perhaps because of the cold and rainy weather in the Commonwealth, but we are pleased with the lead we have through two days,” said Mandy Brajuha, VP of external relations. “We certainly want to beat our rivals in Tennessee, but more importantly, we want to collect as much lifesaving blood as we can for our local hospitals before the holiday. My challenge to Big Blue Nation as we hit the halfway point of this drive: Can we get above 400 on Wednesday? Can we get to 450 one day? I think we can do it.”
Big Blue Crush was established in 1988 to bolster the blood supply before the Thanksgiving holiday when the need for blood usually goes up and donations go down. Kentucky leads the friendly rivalry 19-14-1, but Tennessee won last year’s competition, and both nonprofit organizations could use big weeks to dig out of the ongoing national blood shortage.
KBC has faced regular periods with just a day’s supply of blood or less to provide its more than 70-plus Kentucky hospitals, a troubling trend for a product so vital to local lives. Whether it’s used for surgeries, provided to treat diseases and cancer, or there as a lifeline for traumas, one in four people will need a blood transfusion in their lifetime.
Donors hoping to restock the shelves and reclaim the Big Blue Crush trophy have several options to donate Wednesday through Friday this week. All eight of KBC’s donor centers are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Drives on UK campus are open daily this week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional mobile drives can be found at kybloodcenter.org/event/big-blue-crush-2022.
As a thank you, KBC will give all donors a blue “Football School” long-sleeve shirt. Additionally, all donors will 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.
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.