ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Donate blood during the largest blood drive on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus hosted by Wolverines for Life.
This year’s Be a Hero at the Big House will take place on Sunday, Nov. 1 at two new Ann Arbor locations: 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.at The Kensington Hotel Ballroom, 3500 S. State Street; and 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. in the Terrace Ballroom at Graduate Ann Arbor, 615 E. Huron Street.
To maintain proper social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, donors are asked to make appointments in advance by entering the sponsor code GoBlue when downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
The Be a Hero at the Big House event is a part of the 39th annual Blood Battle between U-M and Ohio State University. Nearly 40 blood drives will be held on the Ann Arbor campus and surrounding areas between Oct. 28 and Nov. 25.
During the Blood Battle, the archrivals go head-to-head to see which university’s supporters can bring in the most blood donations. This year, each school seeks a goal of 1,500 donations. Blood Battle has been held the first weeks of November leading up to the day the schools face off on the football field every year since 1982, generating thousands of donations for patients in need of blood.
This year will be especially important as many blood donation drives were canceled earlier in the year, or experienced fewer donations, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Blood drives and donating blood is considered an essential activity, and is exempt from the recent stay at home order for U-M students.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
Everyone who comes to donate will receive a commemorative Blood Battle T-shirt and a Washtenaw Dairy coupon, while supplies last. Presenting donors will also be entered into a raffle to win prizes. Donors can also learn about organ, tissue, eye and bone marrow registries by attending Zoom informational sessions. Zoom information is available on the Wolverines for Life website.
So far, Michigan has won 21 Blood Battles and Ohio State has won 16, with one year resulting in a tie. Blood Battle blood drives generate thousands of blood donations through the Red Cross every year to help hospital patients.
Each day, the Red Cross needs to collect nearly 13,000 blood donations and more than 2,600 platelet donations to meet the needs of patients at about 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.
Important COVID-19 information for donors
The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.