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13th annual Big Blue Slam blood drive kicks off

Donate blood Jan. 25-29th
Published: Jan. 24, 2021 at 4:29 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The 13th annual Big Blue Slam kicks off Monday, January 25th. It’s a competition between the blood donors of Kentucky Blood Center and LifeSouth Blood Center in Gainesville, Florida.

“Blood’s going out the door quicker than it’s coming in the door right now,” says VP of external relations at the Kentucky Blood Center Mandy Brajuha. “Winter is difficult always for blood centers across the county, this year of course being no exception with COVID going on.”

Brajuha says people have been more hesitant to get out and donate. Plus, she explains hospitals are seeing a higher rate of transfusions this year.

“Don’t count on somebody else to make the donation count, make sure you make an appointment and come out,” Brajuha says.

Big Blue Slam in 2021 is not only about donating blood, it’s also about donating plasma. Someone who’s had COVID-19 has plasma with antibodies that can help those struggling with the virus. All donors will be tested for these antibodies. If they have them, they’ll have the option to return later and make that plasma donation.

“A great way to save an initial life when you donate blood, but then you can come back later and save the life of someone battling COVID-19,” Brajuha says.

Brajuah says last year, UK lost to Florida by only 8 vials.

While some friendly competition can be fun, for Cat fans this year it’s not only about getting a W. It’s about saving the lives of fellow Kentuckians.

Volunteers can donate at several locations.

The Kentucky Blood Center has a full list of locations, times, and dates.

Volunteers will receive a long-sleeved Slam T-shirt, a coupon for a free McDonald’s breakfast sandwich, and a $5 Starbucks gift card will be given to those who go to the UK campus drives.

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