Big Heart Blood Battle runs through Feb. 23

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Campus community members can help the university bring home another championship this winter by donating blood through Feb. 23 during the Big Heart Blood Battle at locations across the Ann Arbor and medical campuses.

The annual winter blood-donation competition against Michigan State and Penn State universities and the University of Wisconsin helps keep critical blood supplies flowing to hospitals and clinics.

The need is great. This month, the Red Cross declared an emergency blood shortage, with blood donations at a 20-year low.

Donors receive a free Big Heart shirt, a Washtenaw Dairy coupon, and, during January, are automatically entered in a raffle to win a trip to Super Bowl LVIII.

Drive locations are available on the Blood Battle site. Donors should use the sponsor code “goblue” when scheduling an appointment.

Before donating, potential donors should:

  • Review the American Red Cross’s eligibility requirements, which recently changed to open donation to more people.
  • Complete Rapid Pass the day of the scheduled appointment to save time.
  • Eat iron-rich foods and drink plenty of water.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently updated national blood donation eligibility guidelines with an individualized risk assessment for all donors, marking a change from a prior policy that banned some donors based on their sexual practices.

Those unable to donate at one of the Big Heart Blood Battle drives can help patients by donating at a drive or blood donation center. Platelet donations, which can only be given at donation centers, are especially needed.

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