For the fifth time in seven years, Oregon State University fans and supporters have won the "Rivals for Life" blood drive with a record number of participants.
"Over the years, this has been a campaign that builds and builds and builds," said Daphne Mathew, a Red Cross spokeswoman.
The annual American Red Cross blood drive, held this year between Nov. 6 and 22, invites students, friends, parents, alumni and other OSU and University of Oregon supporters to donate blood in the name of their favorite school. Mathew said the event began in 2002 to boost scarce holiday blood bank supplies.
This year, a total of 8,388 participants registered during the Civil War blood drive - 853 more than last year. Of those, 4,792 were for OSU and 3,596 for UO.
The Ducks won the first blood drive in 2002 because of a series of blood drives on campus. But aside from another UO win in 2007, Beaver supporters have won the blood drive decisively every other year. (See civilwar
blooddrive.com for more about the history of the event.)
Mathew said there isn't an accurate way to calculate exactly how many units (pints) of blood resulted from the blood drive. Although most who register donate a pint of blood, a few are excluded due to illness or some other factor. However, all who register are counted as a team vote.
Mathew said this year's heightened Civil War rivalry no doubt gave a bump to the "Rivals for Life" blood drive. For the first time, the Dec. 3 Civil War game in Autzen Stadium in Eugene will decide which team plays in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1. The Ducks last played there in 1995; the Beavers in 1965.
So is there any kind of statistical correlation between who wins the blood drive and which team wins the Civil War?
Not really. OSU has won in the last four of the seven Civil War games held during the same years as the blood drive - including both of the years that UO won the blood drive.
But the real winners, Mathew said, are the many people who require blood during the holiday season, when more donors tend to be too busy, out of town or sometimes ill to contribute.
Donations last year helped the Red Cross make it through "the Arctic Blast" of last year, Mathew said.
Any eligible donor is urged to give blood at this time of year by calling 800-GIVE-LIFE to schedule an appointment. To be eligible, a person must be at least 16 years old (with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds, be in general good health and not have donated in the last 56 days.