Kentucky beat Tennessee in this year’s Big Blue Crush blood drive.
The Big Blue Crush blood drive is an annual competition hosted by the Kentucky Blood Center between Kentucky and Tennessee to see who can collect the most blood. This year was the 29th year of the blood drive competition.
“We’ve won six years in a row. We’re going for seven this year,” said Larry Criss, a staff member who was at the Singletary Center blood drive location on UK’s campus, before this year’s event.
Since the first year of Big Blue Crush in 1987, Kentucky has now won a total of 16 years, Tennessee has won 12 years and they tied one year.
There were five blood drive locations on UK’s campus and 13 other locations throughout Kentucky. The blood drive encouraged more than just UK students and staff to donate.
While the Kentucky Blood Center was working to beat Tennessee again this year, they were also working to beat their own records.
“Last year during Crush, for 2015, 2,604 donors were stuck. And we’re hoping to get more than that this year,” said Jaime Lunsford, another staff member who was at the Singletary Center location, before the blood drive.
All of the blood that was collected in Kentucky will go to the Kentucky Blood Center, who will then distribute it to the hospitals in need.
UK students were a large portion of the donors and many of them consistently donate blood.
Kinesiology senior Kealy Griffin said that she used to be afraid to give blood until one of her friends convinced her to do it in high school. After her donation during Big Blue Crush this year, Griffin has now donated over a gallon of blood.
“I just hit a gallon, which I think is eight times. So this will be my ninth time donating,” Griffin said.
Psychology senior Lindsey Thorsen has now donated a gallon of blood, as well.
“It’s like you’re supposed to vote; you’re supposed to give blood. It’s kind of one of those things. It doesn’t hurt me to give it and it helps someone else,” Thorsen said.
Many UK students said that they donate because they know it is helping someone who needs it.
“It just feels like I’m doing a service to the community,” Griffin said.
Chemical engineering and mathematics junior Laura Grueneberg donates blood as often as she is eligible to. She started donating blood when she was in high school and now at UK she tries to donate about every eight weeks.
“It’s normally something I always do. I’ll see the blood drive sign and think, oh, it’s been eight weeks,” Grueneberg said.
Angela Hinchie a chemistry junior said she gave blood for the first time last year with one of her friends. She decided it had been a while and she should donate again this year.
This year’s Big Blue Crush blood drive went from Nov. 14-18.
Next year will be the 30th anniversary of the Big Blue Crush blood drive.