If its Thanksgiving weekend and you’re a college football fan, you know it means “Rivalry Weekend.” And in the Big 10 there is no bigger rivalry than the one between Michigan and Ohio State. What you probably aren’t aware of is that these archrivals roll up their sleeves and partner with the American Red Cross for the annual Blood Battle during the month of November.  So gridiron foes are charity partners by coming together in a friendly competition to see which school can donate more blood during the month of November.

Whether you are a Buckeye or a Wolverine, you can show your colors by donating blood. Since 1982, students, faculty, and fans of the two schools have battled to take claim the honor of donating the most blood. The Blood Battle has grown into one of the largest blood competitions in the country with more than 2,500 donations given on each campus alone.

Despite OSUs recent dominance on the football field, they actually “lost” the blood battle last year. According to the American Red Cross web site, “Ohio State lost the Blood Battle last year by just eight donations,” said Annette Titus, recruitment account manager for the Red Cross. “We are eager to take the trophy back from Michigan this year.” So far Ohio State has won 14 Blood Battles, and Michigan has won 20, with one year resulting in a tie. Blood Battle drives generate thousands of blood donations through the Red Cross every year to help local hospital patients. This year each school seeks a goal of 2,500 donations, for a total of 5,000 blood donations combined according to the American Red Cross web site.

“The competition really motivates fans to donate blood at a key time,” said Rodney Wilson, communications manager for the Red Cross Blood Services. “It provides an important boost for the blood supply as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. During the busy holiday season it’s important to not forget the constant need for blood donors.”

At HEPdata we are proud to work with University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and the American Red Cross to enhance their fundraising efforts. While we will stay neutral on this competition we commend both schools for using their rivalry to help others. Because the real winners are the recipients of the donated blood and suffice it to say they wouldn’t care if their donor bleeds Maize and Gold or Scarlet and Gray!

Giving Thanks for Rivalry Weekend