The faithful fans of Penn State are always proud to say they bleed blue and white. On Tuesday, they got a chance to put their hemoglobin out there to prove it.
It was the grand finale of months of work. Penn State partnered with the American Red Cross’ Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region for the “Bleed Blue” campaign, a chance to leverage Nittany Lion pride to save lives.
Marianne Spampinato, Red Cross regional communications manager, said that “several thousand” donors have stepped up at dedicated drives throughout the area, including campuses in DuBois and Altoona, to replenish the blood supply in the name of the football team. Between 100 and 150 units were expected from Tuesday’s event alone.
The Red Cross took over the President’s Suite at Beaver Stadium, where donors reclined on tables with a dizzying view of the Centre Region.
When they were finished, they took a seat on the stadium side of the suite to eat food donated by DelGrosso’s while gazing at the field.
They also got a chance to win tickets to next year’s Temple game and a football autographed by first-year Penn State coach James Franklin.
“It’s a way to build awareness and excitement,” Spampinato said.
Keeping the blood supply up is a constant battle. Blood donated Tuesday will undergo about a dozen tests over two days before being put into service.
Spampinato said the needs are important during the holiday period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, but not quite for the reasons people think.
Although accidents after partying might be the assumption, the drop in donations due to weather, travel, illness and just busy schedules can take a toll on the supply. But people who depend on blood products still need them.
Spampinato says that isn’t just from crashes or disasters. There are surgeries that can’t wait until after the holidays, babies being born and cancer patients who might need red cells.
“You can’t wait for a disaster. There are disasters all the time,” she said.