‘True Blue’ spirit helps save 1,550+ lives at fall...

‘True Blue’ spirit helps save 1,550+ lives at fall blood drive (+VIDEO)

More than 1,550 people across the Midstate will be true “blue bloods” after MTSU supporters rushed to donate lifesaving blood at the university’s three-day True Blue Blood Drive Oct. 21-23.

Because each pint of donated blood can save up to three lives, 1,554 more patients in the American Red Cross’ Tennessee Valley Region Blood Services area will live another day, said Brittany Durham, Red Cross donor recruitment representative.

Brittany Durham

“We had a wonderful turnout this year!” Durham said. “The volunteers did an awesome job, and I cannot thank you all enough for hosting our fourth annual large fall drive at MTSU.”

True Blue Blood Drive graphic webDurham said the drive drew 653 potential donors over three days. Five hundred eighteen of those people were able to donate successfully.

Most of the others were temporarily deferred because of low iron, so volunteers and Red Cross personnel encouraged them to donate later at the American Red Cross headquarters on Memorial Boulevard in Murfreesboro or at another Red Cross blood drive.

“The (Student Health, Wellness and) Recreation Center staff were extremely helpful, as always,” Durham said. “The volunteers really helped out with giving donors snacks and drinks, cheerfully signing them in and assisting them to reserved parking with such positive attitudes. Most importantly, the students came and donated not only their time but their blood for our patients, and that is a HUGE gift.

“I cannot thank you all enough for everything that went into this drive,” she added. “What a success!”

You can watch a video from the event below.

MTSU senior Danielle Boyd also explains how your donation can save lives here.

The blood drive, now in its fourth year, has traditionally been a competition between MTSU and former Sun Belt Conference rival Western Kentucky University linked to their annual football matchup.

James Lee

The Blue Raiders didn’t play the Hilltoppers this fall because of MTSU’s switch to Conference USA, but MTSU leaders encouraged the community to continue donating because the need for blood is always present.

“Part of the True Blue spirit is being a giver, and what better way to do so than giving the gift of life by being a blood donor?” MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said.

James Lee, president of MTSU’s Student Government Association, a co-sponsor of the True Blue Blood Drive with MTSU Athletics, said the “Bleed Blue” drive has become a community tradition, drawing alumni and community supporters from across the Midstate as well as across campus.

“Around this time of year, people recognize that MTSU has a big blood drive, regardless of any competition, and they get ready to donate,” Lee said. “The people who donate know they’re not just reaching people in Middle Tennessee but all over the world.

“They’re making such a generous donation, something that is literally a part of them, to save lives.”

— Gina E. Fann (


MTSU freshman Cindy Rivera of Nashville, a biology/pre-med major, watches with a smile as an American Red Cross phlebotomist adjusts the tubing carrying her lifesaving first-time blood donation into a pouch for processing. Rivera was one of dozens of donors with an early appointment on the first day of the 2013 True Blue Blood Drive in MTSU’s Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

American Red Cross phlebotomists scurry to process whole-blood donors inside the MTSU Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center gymnasium on Oct. 21, the first day of the 2013 True Blue Blood Drive.

Two MTSU students relax while donating blood Monday during the first day of the 2013 True Blue Blood Drive.