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First-ever Bleed Maroon and Gold blood driving coming to Worthington Oct. 1

WORTHINGTON — There are a lot of reasons to donate blood.

Come Oct. 1, Worthington-area blood donors will have even more incentives for giving the gift of life.

A first-time partnership by the American Red Cross and the University of Minnesota Gopher Athletics, blood donors of the Worthington Community blood drive will receive a free Bleed Maroon and Gold T-Shirt and be entered to win Gopher football tickets. Appointments are available from noon to 6 p.m. at the Worthington Area YMCA. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are preferred to ensure a T-shirt.  

According to Kim Jensen, American Red Cross account manager and donor recruitment for the north central region, the American Red Cross Bleed Maroon and Red Blood Drive promotion, which began in June has been extremely successful. A total of 1,395 units have been collected, impacting 4,185 patients, she said.  

“We’ve been able to reach new people that hadn’t thought about donating before,” Jensen said about the additional exposure and awareness the promotion has provided. The effort has produced 530 first-time donors.

That additional exposure is in part thanks to the Gopher Athletics for recognizing a “donor of the game” during home Gopher football contests. It’s a project the athletic department adopted because of its desire to “give back to the community,” Jensen said.

Jensen said blood donation is always crucial, as only 38 percent of the population is eligible to give.

“So we really need those people to step up,” she said.

The north central division services more than 100 hospitals across South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, she said.

However, blood donors may have a special opportunity to assist with Hurricane Florence victims without leaving their midwestern communities.

“In the Carolinas, more than 200 blood drives have been canceled because of flooding,” Jensen said. “Those hospitals will be short, and so it’s good for other regions to roll up their sleeves and help that region out.

“With blood donation, you don’t have to be smart, rich or athletic,” she added. “You just have to volunteer your time to come in and save lives.”

Appointments may be made online at redcrossblood.org (enter “Gophers”) or by calling 1-800-733-2767.

Anyone interested in organizing an American Red Cross blood drive or volunteer may contact Jensen at (612) 249-4949.

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