• 77°

Area’s first responders to battle it out in blood drive

Police officers, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies will square off in Lafayette County next week to see who can donate the largest amount of blood.

First responders will battle it out in a “Battle of the Badges” blood drive for United Blood Services.

But it doesn’t just stop with the first responders showing up to donate. Residents can throw their support behind their favorite department and donate on their behalf, whether it is the Oxford police or fire squads, University Police or Lafayette County sheriff’s or fire departments.

The bloodmobile will be stationed at the YMCA on North Lamar Boulevard in the Mid Town Shopping Center on Thursday and Friday from 1 to 7 p.m. each day.

United Blood Services said all donors will receive a “LOU Battle of the Badges” T-shirt while supplies last.  All donors also will be entered to win a vacation where one summer blood donor will win a dream vacation to the destination of his or her choice. Transit and lodging will be covered up to $6,000.

“United Blood Services provides blood products to BMH in Oxford and all other Baptist Memorial Hospitals and North Mississippi Medical Center facilities plus many more in North Mississippi,” said Rhonda Weaver, senior blood recruiter with UBS. “Our hospitals use about 500-600 units per week for their patients, depending on the time of the year. The summer months are tough on the blood supply because more people are traveling and doing outdoor activities. They don’t take the time to donate, so we depend heavily on our communities to help supply the blood needed for the patients. We take vacations but the blood needs never take a vacation.”

Weaver said all blood types are needed in order to prevent any shortages from occurring, but there currently is an extra need for type O negative and O positive red cells and type AB plasma donations.

“We are hoping that the Battle of the Badges blood drive will help put at least 75-80 units of blood on the shelves during the two-day drive,” Weaver said. “This could be a whole day’s supply of blood for the local hospitals. We invite everyone … friends, family, and anyone else, to come out and support your local first responders. The winning department will receive a ‘Travelin’ Trophy’ and of course the ‘Braggin’ Rights’ for a year.”