OGDEN — This week, Weber State and Utah State are carrying on a decade-long tradition of hosting a week-long “blood battle.”

Community members are invited to join students, faculty and staff in donating blood through American Red Cross from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday in the ballrooms of the Shepherd Union building, 3910 West Campus Drive.

The timing is important because blood donations tend to dry up over the summer. American Red Cross has issued several emergency calls for donors due to the shortage.

“This blood drive is important because of the blood shortage in hospitals,” said Hannah Wadsworth, American Red Cross chair of the Weber State Student Association’s service team, in a university press release. “During the summer, schools are out, and people are on vacation, so there are fewer donations than normal. It is also a fun opportunity to compete with Utah State and show them we really do bleed purple.”

American Red Cross is the major provider of blood for Weber County. The organization supplies both Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital and Ogden Regional Medical Center, said Kurt Lyman, account manager with American Red Cross who has partnered with Weber State in organizing the drive.

The university that reaches the highest percentage of its goal number of units wins the battle, Lyman said. A unit equals about a pint.

Weber State’s goal for the week is 199 units, Lyman said, but there will need to be more than 199 donors in order to reach that goal. This is because some prospective donors could be deferred because of high blood pressure or recently getting a tattoo.

Weber State was on its way to hitting 43 units Monday, Lyman said.

Utah State will likely have a higher goal because not as many of its students are commuters, so it tends to have higher turnout, Lyman said.

Lyman is an Ogden-area resident and an alum of Weber State, so he roots for Weber State to win every year. But his belief in blood donation is more personal.

When his daughter was born at McKay-Dee Hospital, she weighed one pound two ounces and needed three blood transfusions. She’s now headed into high school and doing well.

“One person saved her life three times because they were able to use the same pint of blood,” Lyman said. “If someone wouldn’t have donated ... she wouldn’t be here with me.”

Lyman said if prospective donors can’t make it to Weber State, American Red Cross has between 25 and 30 blood drives a month throughout the community.

To find a blood drive in Weber or Davis county, visit www.redcross.org and enter your zip code or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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