By Deanna Bolio
There are lots of traditions at Stanford Blood Center — the Sharks Foundation blood drive each hockey season, Grateful Life Tour tie-dye t-shirts every summer, and the Rivals for Life blood drive competition each fall are just a few.
For the last seven years, the lead-up to the Big Game between Stanford and Cal’s football teams has included Rivals for Life — a friendly competition between the schools’ respective blood banks. With hundreds of appointments scheduled, it’s one of Stanford Blood Center’s largest mobile blood drives of the year.
By a score of 262-211, Stanford was named the winner of this year’s contest, held on November 19. Having to venture out into the season’s first rainstorm clearly didn’t deter donors from filling the Arrillaga Center for Sports & Recreation.
“I’m really proud of the Stanford community, their support and their camaraderie,” said Elisa Manzanares, Stanford Blood Center account manager. “They really know how to rally around a cause and they’ve been fantastic over the years. In sports terms, we’ve become a dynasty.”
It was the sixth straight victory for Stanford Blood Center. A slide announcing the victory was shown on the video scoreboards at Stanford stadium during the Big Game. Nearly a quarter of donors registered were first-timers.
“We always seem to get the most participation from the freshman class,” said Manzanares. “I have a lot of people asking when they’ll be able to donate again or what we’re doing next. This kind of fun experience can help turn first-time donors into repeat donors.”
While the competition provides a bit of fun for the participants, it’s important to remember the reason the drive is held. More than 1,500 units of blood have been donated at Stanford’s Rivals for Life drive since its start in 2006. While Stanford Blood Center gets to hang on to the plaque for another year, it’s the patients treated at local hospitals who actually finish on top.