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Red, white and ‘True Blue’ blood is focus of MTSU ...

Red, white and ‘True Blue’ blood is focus of MTSU ‘Battle of the Branches’

Alyssa Hawkins of Columbia, Tenn., left, a May 2020 MTSU athletic training graduate, and sophomore nursing major Avery Garfield of Lascassas, Tenn., right, are shown in file photos from MTSU’s February 2020 Valentine's Day campus blood drive. At center is information on the university’s annual “Battle of the Branches

MTSU wants to help the local American Red Cross chapter save lives in an all-American “True Blue” way again this year in a campus- and community-minded blood drive marking the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 crisis.

The “Battle of the Branches” blood drive is set from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, and is co-sponsored by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center at MTSU, the MTSU Red Cross Club and the Department of Health and Human Performance.

It’ll be held at North Boulevard Church of Christ, 1112 N. Rutherford Blvd., about a quarter mile off the MTSU campus.

MTSU “Battle of the Branches” 2020 blood drive poster

Click on the poster to see a larger image.

Donors can make an appointment today for Sept. 10 by visiting the Red Cross website, using the new “American Red Cross Blood” app or by texting “BLOODAPP” to 90999. Walk-in donors also are welcome.

MTSU event restrictions related to the pandemic led organizers to schedule this year’s drive at the off-campus site, thanks to the availability of the neighboring church’s gymnasium.

Blood supplies are critically low nationwide because of canceled blood drives. Some chapters have less than a day’s worth of blood available for their area hospitals.

One donation of whole blood can help three patients, so each donor can have an immediate impact on supplies.

Information on how the Red Cross is protecting donors from COVID-19 exposure, and how those who’ve recovered from the virus can donate their antibody-boosted plasma to help other patients, is available here.

“Please sign up and donate if you can,” said Casie Higginbotham, a Department of Health and Human Performance lecturer and one of the drive organizers. “All our donors will receive a free COVID antibody test as part of your donation.

Casie Higginbotham, lecturer, Department of Health and Human Performance

Casie Higginbotham

“Our MTSU Red Cross Club, run completely by the students, has worked all summer to prepare for a successful year of blood drives at MTSU. This group of students is working together on planning and publicizing drives as well as completing the safety and training requirements to be able to volunteer in person the day of each drive.”

The “Battle of the Branches” is a friendly annual competition to encourage more blood donations and thank active-duty and retired military members for their service.

Each donor can vote for a U.S. military branch — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard — during their visit, and the branch with the largest number of donors will have bragging rights until next year’s blood drive.

The winning branch also will be saluted at MTSU’s Nov. 7 “Salute to Veterans and Armed Services” football game.

The drive also commemorates the anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks on America, when people lined up for hours at blood banks nationwide to help those injured in New York City, Washington, D.C., and outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Alyssa Hawkins, a senior athletic training major, smiles while donating blood Feb. 10 in MTSU's Keathley University Center during the university's 2020 valentine blood drive. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

Alyssa Hawkins of Columbia, Tenn., smiles while donating blood in the Keathley University Center during MTSU’s 2020 Valentine’s Day campus blood drive in this February file photo. Hawkins, who graduated cum laude from MTSU in May with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training, is wearing a T-shirt she received during the university’s 2019 blood drive competition with Western Kentucky University. MTSU is sponsoring its annual “Battle of the Branches” blood drive Thursday, Sept. 10. (MTSU file photo by James Cessna)

The MTSU blood drive is open, as always, to students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and neighbors across Middle Tennessee. Each donor will receive a free T-shirt and a coupon via email for a free haircut from SportClips as thanks.

The Red Cross requires all blood donors to wear masks while giving blood. Red Cross phlebotomists, technicians and other staffers also wear masks to protect donors, volunteers, co-workers and guests.

MTSU community donors can save time by completing the required health questionnaire online on Sept. 10, before donating, with the Red Cross’s “Rapid Pass.”

For tips on preparing for a blood donation, visit the Red Cross website. To learn about the Daniels Veterans Center at MTSU, visit www.mtsu.edu/military.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Avery Garfield, right, a sophomore nursing major, cuts up with an American Red Cross blood services technician while donating blood Feb. 10 in MTSU's Keathley University Center during the university's 2020 valentine blood drive. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

Avery Garfield of Lascassas, Tenn., right, a sophomore nursing major, cuts up with an American Red Cross blood services technician while donating blood in the Keathley University Center during MTSU’s 2020 Valentine’s Day campus blood drive in this February file photo. MTSU is sponsoring its annual “Battle of the Branches” blood drive Thursday, Sept. 10. (MTSU file photo by James Cessna)


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