CORVALLIS - Oregon's third annual Civil War Blood Drive, pitting Oregon State University against the University of Oregon in a friendly and beneficial competition, begins today (Nov. 1) and runs through Nov. 17.

Fans, students and alumni of both schools have the opportunity to donate blood on behalf of their team at any blood drive across the state. The friendly competition is held leading up to the annual Civil War football game between the two universities and is focused on increasing blood donations as well as raising awareness of the constant need for blood in the region.

"This collaborative blood drive is not only an important and humanitarian undertaking, it reflects the growing collaboration between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon," said OSU President Ed Ray. "We'll save the competition for athletic events. We can and will accomplish a great deal more as partners. The passion behind this humanitarian event will save lives and is a great example of what we can accomplish together."

"While this civil war blood drive competition may not receive the widespread attention that surrounds the competition on the football field, the outcome will be of enormous importance to some members of our community," said UO President Dave Frohnmayer. "I want to encourage Duck fans to take this opportunity to help save lives by donating blood in the weeks leading up to the Civil War game."

The event is sponsored by the University of Oregon Alumni Association and the OSU Alumni Association. Donors can call 800-448-3543 to schedule a donation at a public drive or fixed donation site.

The university with the most donors by Nov. 17 will be honored as the "Civil War Blood Drive Champion" at the Civil War Football game on Nov. 22 in Eugene. Every donor will receive a Civil War Blood Drive pin, while supplies last.

Lane Memorial Blood Bank has scheduled blood drives Nov. 4-5 and Nov. 8-9 at University of Oregon, while the American Red Cross has scheduled a four-day drive, Nov. 8-11, at OSU.

Last year, both schools' fans and alumni collectively donated more than 6,500 units of blood for the holiday season. Each donation can help save up to three lives and 5,000 units of blood are needed each week to meet regional hospital and patient needs.

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Sam Sather, 503-528-5798