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KNOXVILLE — Regional blood banks are hoping that patriotism and unity spur Tennessee and Kentucky football fans to give more blood Nov. 12-16 in the BlueOrange Blood Donation drive.

Knoxville-s Medic Regional Blood Center and Central Kentucky Blood Center of Lexington co-sponsor the annual contest between the teams’ fans to give the most blood.

Jeannine McKamey, Medic public relations director, said the winner would be announced Nov. 17 at the UT-Kentucky football game in Lexington.

With a theme of “Volunteers United” and a logo of Vol mascot Smokey and the Kentucky Wildcat mascot holding an American flag, this year’s effort is more unified, McKamey said.

“Because our country is at war and the need for blood donation has been in the news so much due to recent tragedies, we decided it would be more appropriate to stress unity rather than our tradition of rivalry for this year-s BlueOrange battle,- McKamey said.

“Our message is that it-s a patriotic as well as altruistic obligation for everyone to maintain an adequate, safe blood supply for our communities. We just can-t face the future confidently without it.”

McKamey said donors can give blood every 56 days, and most people who donated soon after Sept. 11 will be eligible to donate again during BlueOrange week.

“A lot of younger people gave for the first time after Sept. 11,” McKamey said. “We hope the contest inspires them to give again and start making donation a lifelong habit.”

Donors can give blood weekdays, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. at Medic headquarters, 1601 Ailor Ave. They also can donate 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Nov. 12-16, at UT University Center, Suites 224-227.

Other scheduled donation times and sites are:
Nov. 12 — 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Blount Memorial Hospital Auditorium; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sevierville Wal-Mart.
Nov. 13 — 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Newport Grammar School Library; 1 p.m-8 p.m., UT Hess Hall Lobby.
Nov. 14 — 1 p.m.-8 p.m., UT South Carrick Hall Lobby; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Athens Wal-Mart.
Nov. 15 — 8 a.m.-5 p.m., UT Agriculture Campus, Hollingsworth Auditorium; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Rockwood Wal-Mart.
Nov. 16 — 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Methodist Medical Center Lobby; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Morristown Wal-Mart.

The contest began in 1988 to insure adequate blood supplies for the holiday season, when shortages often occur, McKamey said.

Vol fans won last year, donating 3,116 pints. Kentucky supporters gave 2,840.

Donors, who must be 17 years or older and weigh 110 pounds or more, receive logo T-shirts, coupons for Baskin-Robbins ice cream, and a year of family exemptions from blood supplier processing fees at U.S. hospitals.

Medic is the sole blood collector and supplier for all six Knoxville hospitals and 18 other area hospitals. For more information, see Medic-s website at www.medicblood.org or contact Medic’s Donor Recruitment Department at 524-3074.