The American Red Cross wants to save a life in Columbia today. The Save a Life Tour 2003, a nationwide campaign to encourage Americans to make regular blood donations, will be at Memorial Union on the MU campus between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
“It’s an awesome opportunity for us to educate 23,000 students and the city of Columbia about the ongoing need for blood donations and give everyone an opportunity to save a life,” said Anne Farrow, donor recruitment account manager for the American Red Cross for Boone and Cooper Counties.
MU fraternity Beta Theta Pi will sponsor the blood drive and hopes to get some other Greek houses and MU students to participate. Today’s goal is to collect 150 units of blood.
“I hope that our efforts will both benefit the community at large, and the Greek community and everyone that participates,” said Justin Bloss, president of Beta Theta Pi. “I also hope the American Red Cross will reach its goal and raise awareness about the importance of giving blood.”
It was here in Columbia that the world record was set on April 7, 1999, for the most blood donations in one day, with 3,155 units, Farrow said. Most of these donations were from the Greek community.
Columbia was chosen as a tour stop, Farrow said, as a “thank you” to the city for providing such a great donor bank in the past.
The nationwide goal for the tour is 3 million blood donations. As of Friday, the total donations for the campaign, which began May 20 and runs until mid-November, had reached more than 1.3 million units.
To encourage growth in each city’s level of blood donation from last year, the Red Cross is conducting a Community Challenge. In this spirit of competition, Columbia City Council members accepted a challenge from their counterparts in Jefferson City to see which tour stop will collect more donations. The tour will stop in Jefferson City on Thursday.
“I urge citizens to participate. Nothing can be more satisfying than giving the gift of life and beating Jefferson City at the same time,” Mayor Pro Tem Jim Loveless said in a press release.
To further support the blood drive, Loveless has declared today “American Red Cross Save a Life Day” in Columbia.
A Red Cross Mobile Museum will be at Memorial Union today, featuring real-life recipient stories and interactive exhibits that explain what happens to blood that is donated.
Donors will receive a tour T-shirt and be entered in a raffle to win St. Louis Rams items and first-aid kits. Papa John’s Pizza will provide food for the day.
Anyone who is at least 17 years old, weighs at least 110 pounds, has not donated blood in the last 56 days and is healthy can be a donor. For more information, visit www.givelife.org.