Westminster, William Woods ‘battle’ to save lives

A Westminster College student gives blood during last year’s Blood Donor Challenge against William Woods University. Westminster won this year’s challenge, contributing more than 200 units of blood to the Red Cross.

A Westminster College student gives blood during last year’s Blood Donor Challenge against William Woods University. Westminster won this year’s challenge, contributing more than 200 units of blood to the Red Cross. Photo by Dean Asher.

Westminster College and William Woods University have been locked in a battle for almost a decade. School pride and bragging rights are what’s on the line, and with each passing year, gallons of blood are let.

Fortunately, this will actually result in lives saved rather than lives lost. The two Fulton schools recently went head to head in their annual Blood Donor Challenge, collecting 369 units of blood — enough to potentially save 1,100 lives in Missouri and Illinois — to donate to the American Red Cross.

The two schools have teamed up to face off in annual dueling blood drives since 2003 in an effort to foster some healthy competition while contributing to a good cause. Westminster took home the traveling trophy this year with a total of 220 units of blood collected, with William Woods following at 149. The American Red Cross is ecstatic with the contributions.

“It’s fantastic, not only for the Red Cross but for the hospitals we serve,” said Dan Fox, media contact for the Missouri and Illinois region of the Red Cross. “We serve 79 hospitals, with each of them needing blood, sometimes on a daily basis. When we can get schools and other organizations to ‘compete’ with each other, the real winners are the hospital and patients. This competition encourages students to come out and donate, and we get more units of blood as a result.”

Each school held four separate blood drives at set intervals throughout the year, with Westminster kicking things off Sept. 22 and closing on April 16. Student organizations took charge of the drives by making publicity to get the word out, recruiting donors and staffing the drives themselves. All 369 units will stay here to save lives in the Missouri and Illinois area, barring an unforeseen emergency that creates an urgent need elsewhere in the country.

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