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Michigan, Ohio State fans teaming up for annual blood battle to raise supply for American Red Cross

Blood needed as shortage reaches critical level

The Red Cross needs to collect 10,000 additional blood products each week over the next month to overcome the current shortage.

The buzz at the Big House wasn’t about the game between Michigan and Ohio State next weekend, but about beating the rival off the football field.

The American Red Cross is teaming up with the University of Michigan for its annual “Be a Hero at the Big House” blood drive.

“I’d love to see us win,” said Fran Ternes, a regular donor. “I’d love to see us put on a good battle either way.”

There’s been a critical shortage of blood donations since the pandemic started.

“We’re concerned, we are,” said Mary-Lynn Foster, regional CEO of the American Red Cross. “Usually we see a rebound in the fall, but we haven’t seen that.”

The blood battle between Michigan and Ohio State has been going on for 40 years. Michigan has had consistent bragging rights, winning 22 times.

“I’m a cancer survivor and I’d like to help more people become survivors,” Ternes said.

Conner Burke is majoring in bio-chemistry and wants to become a doctor.

His passion for medicine intensified after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2019.

“I’ve received 12 units of blood so far in my treatment and nothing helps alleviate symptoms like a unit of packed red blood cells,” he said.

The Red Cross needs to collect 10,000 additional blood products each week over the next month to overcome the current shortage.

“A lot of patients who are being diagnosed now are in the situation I was in two years ago and they need blood like I did,” Burke said. “To have to delay their treatment is worrying for them, doctors and can contribute to a negative health outcome.”

The goal of this year’s drive is to collect a total of 1,500 units at several drives on campus.

At last check, U-M is currently in the lead.


About the Author:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism