Big House event part of annual Blood Battle donation effort


The American Red Cross is teaming up with the University of Michigan for its annual Blood Battle against its longtime rival, The Ohio State University. This friendly competition comes as the Red Cross continues to face a national blood shortage.

This year also marks the 41st battle between the universities, which have vied to collect the most pints of blood during a series of blood drives for the Red Cross.

The battle’s pinnacle event at U-M is Be a Hero at the Big House on Nov. 19. The largest single-day blood drive on U-M’s campus includes entertainment, activities, giveaways and special guests.

“Be a Hero at the Big House is a critically important event, not only because of its immediate impact on the blood supply, but also because it honors the generosity of blood, bone marrow, tissue and organ donors,” said Christopher Sonnenday, the Darrell A. Campbell Jr, M.D. Collegiate Professor of Transplant Surgery and director of the U-M Transplant Center.

“None of the work we do at Michigan Medicine, where we are privileged to serve some of the most critically ill and desperate patients, would be possible without daily access to life-saving blood products.

“In transplantation, most of our patients require blood products at the time of their transplant or during their recovery. We are so grateful to all who participate in, and support Be a Hero, one of the most important days of the year.”

Photo of blood donors and Red Cross technicians at the Big House.
The annual Be a Hero in the Big House is set for Nov. 19. This photo is from the 2019 event. (Photo by Lon Horwedel, Michigan Photography)

The Blood Battle runs through Nov. 22, with 29 drives around U-M and Ann Arbor.

Individuals can schedule an appointment during Be a Hero at the Big House, and donors have a chance to see Michigan Stadium from the Jack Roth Stadium Club.

“Donations will be critical in the coming weeks as we work to restock blood products for patients ahead of the holiday season,” said Mary Lynn Foster, chief executive officer for the Michigan Region of the Red Cross. “Blood is needed throughout Michigan and across the country, so by rolling up a sleeve during this spirited competition, you are truly making a difference.”

Blood product distributions to hospitals are still outpacing the number of blood donations coming in, and distributions of some of the most needed blood types have been significantly reduced. The Red Cross is working with hospitals around-the-clock to meet the blood needs of patients, and donations made during this year’s Blood Battle will make a significant impact.

Be a Hero at the Big House event will feature an appearance by Denard Robinson, the assistant director of player personnel and former quarterback for the U-M football program. To sign up to donate blood, visit and type the sponsor code goblue in the search box, call 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or download the Red Cross Blood Donor App. Appointments are preferred but walks-in are welcome.


Leave a comment

Commenting is closed for this article. Please read our comment guidelines for more information.