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American Red Cross hosts annual Carolina-Clemson Blood Drive

The American Red Cross came to campus to host the 34th annual Carolina-Clemson Blood Drive the week before the Palmetto Bowl rivalry football game. 

The drive, which was open throughout the week with stations in the Russell House Ballroom and buses in front of Close-Hipp and Thomas Cooper Library, was part of an annual competition between USC and Clemson University to see who can donate more blood to the Red Cross.

Libby Wright, an account manager at the Red Cross who worked the blood drive for her second year in a row, explained the timely significance of the event.

“We’ve been doing this event every November, the week before the Carolina-Clemson football game, for the last 34 years,” Wright said. “The great thing is this event happens right before the holidays, which is a very critical time in collecting blood because our regular donors are traveling, they’re vacationing, they’re not in their regular routines, schools are out, and so we have a really difficult time collecting the blood that we need.”

Throughout the week, students were able to come to one of the multiple blood drive stations, fill out a brief informational questionnaire, donate blood and receive free snacks and a T-shirt as a bonus.

Aaron Martin, a fourth-year biology student and head of public relations and social media for the Carolina Clemson Blood Drive Committee believes donating blood is important because every donation can save three lives. In the 33 years since its inception, the Carolina Clemson Blood Battle has helped save up to 300,000 lives with the 115,000 pints of blood it has collected. 

"I would say it’s one of the most effective community relief programs," Martin said. "The blood that we collect here is going to people all over the midlands, and we’re making a difference every day.”

Beyond the standard incentives for giving blood, the blood drive is also continuing a wrist-band program introduced last year. Students who donated blood could receive a wristband which could then be presented to receive discounts at local vendors.

“This year, it’s a 15 percent discount at Moe’s, at Barefoot, Curtsy and Henry’s Restaurant,” Martin said.

Paul McQuillen, a first-year biology major, gave blood at the event on Friday.

“I think it’s important because there’s people in traumatic situations that need that blood or they’re not going to survive. I have it, and I don’t need all of it right this second, so might as well contribute to that if I can,” McQuillen said. “It was fast, everybody was super nice, and they made it easy and comfortable.”

Martin said he hoped that all who were considering donating would do so, as the event could have significant impacts on the local community.

“It’s not scary, it’s really not," Martin said. "It takes less than an hour most of the time, and you’ll feel great afterwards, you really will, knowing that you made a difference in your community."

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