For the past three weeks, the scoreboards for the 19th Annual Blood Donor Challenge against Michigan State University have showed Penn State trailing, and trailing by a lot.
But not anymore.
On Thursday, Penn State pulled off an improbable comeback collecting more than 330 units of blood bringing their overall total to 1,810 for the challenge. The final score of the challenge was 1,810 units to1,789 units.
At the end of last week, Wendi Keeler, donor recruitment representative for the Greater Alleghenies blood services region, was unsure that Penn State would be able to collect the 1400 donors needed to surpass Michigan State, but this week, she was pleasantly surprised by the surge in donors.
“I know Penn State doesn’t like to lose and this shows one more way we can come together in a pinch,” Keeler said. “It shows we can come together as a community.”
Keeler recalled earlier in the challenge that for as long as she could remember, Penn State had never been down by such a large number so early on in the challenge.
In the last few days of the challenge, blood drive volunteers heavily promoted the blood drives at the HUB-Robeson center, encouraging walk-in donors as well as donors by appointment, Keeler said.
As of the end of last week, Penn State needed 1,400 donors to surpass Michigan State, Keeler said, but by Thursday, that number became considerably smaller.
“[Thursday] was challenging because we needed so many donors,” Keeler said. “It was a lot of work getting the word out because we tried to recruit 400 walk-in donors.”
Throughout the day Thursday, there was never an extreme lull in donors, but Divya Ghorpade (senior-biochemistry and petroleum and natural gas engineering), an on-site coordinator for the challenge, said the amount of donors ebbed and flowed as the day went on.
Students such as Megan Lee, a walk-in donor, are what helped Penn State win the challenge, Keeler said.
“I donated partially because I saw that we were behind and also because they were accepting walk-ins,” Lee (freshman-biology) said. “I also ran a blood drive in high school, so I saw how it helps people.”
Each one of the units can save up to three lives and one car accident victim can use up to 100 pints of blood, according to the American Red Cross website.
At the blood drive on Tuesday, the woman delivering the complementary pizza said to a group of donors, “You guys saved my husband’s life. He needed multiple units of blood.”
Steven Magenheim gives blood to not only serve the community, but for a personal reason as well.
“My younger cousin needed a blood transfusion when he was born,” Magenheim (sophomore-energy, business, and finance)said. “I saw the need for it.”
Magenheim said he tries to give blood twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring.