Every year, MEDIC and blood donors in Knoxville take part in a friendly, competitive blood drive against a Gainesville Florida area blood bank. Last year, Tennessee won the annual competition, according to MEDIC, but this year, Florida is keeping the competition tight.
At the end of Tuesday, MEDIC had led the donation drive both days but only secured a 19 donation lead. With three days remaining in the blood drive, Tennessee donors may need to step up their game to secure another victory for the Volunteer State.
According to MEDIC, red blood cell product donations made at all centers and mobiles qualify for the competition, and appointments can be scheduled online or over the phone. To schedule an appointment for a whole blood or ALYX donation, call 865-521-2656, or to schedule a platelet donation, call 865-254-3074 and use extension 683 or 684.
Local leaders in both states have also stepped up to the plate. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs shared on Facebook that he made a friendly wager with Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward, Jr. over which center will collect the most red blood cells.
If MEDIC wins, Ward will have to sing Rocky Top and send Jacobs some alligator meat, but if LifeSouth wins, Jacobs will do the Gator Chomp and send Ward some “Smoky Bones,” Calhoun’s award-winning ribs.
“As important as Saturday’s game is, when you give blood, you just might save a life,” Jacobs said.
The blood drive continues through Friday, September 15.