NORMAL — Winter is always a challenging time to collect blood, but American Red Cross Heart of America hopes the long-standing rivalry between Illinois State and Bradley universities results in more donations.
The annual Challenge on 74, which began in 2011, resumes Jan. 24 through 26 at ISU in Normal and at Bradley in Peoria.
"The winter months can be among the most challenging times of year for the Red Cross to collect enough blood donations," said Matt Pitcher of the Red Cross.
"Many donors are busy with activities and inclement weather can force the cancellation of blood drives. Additionally, some donors become temporarily ineligible because of seasonal illness."
The friendly, three-day competition between the two universities comes when donations of all blood types — especially O, A negative and B negative — are needed, said the Red Cross' Blood Service Region.
Donated blood can help accident victims, surgery patients, organ transplant recipients and people receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
Students, faculty, staff and supporters of both universities are asked to roll up their sleeves at any of six drives. The school that collects the higher percentage of its goal gets bragging rights for the next year.
ISU drives will be from: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Bowling & Billiards Center, 100 N. University St.; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Vrooman Center, 215 W. Mulberry St.; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 26 at Watterson Towers, 315 S. Fell Ave., all in Normal.
Bradley drives will be from noon to 6 p.m. Jan. 24, 25 and 26 at Markin Center, 819 N. Glenwood Ave., Peoria.
For an appointment, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 800-733-2767.