West End cities in friendly battle

NEGAUNEE — Negaunee and Ishpeming are once again facing off to see which city will contribute the most pints and win the honorary blood drive trophy.

The annual Blood Battle is a “fight to fill the blood bank.” According to the Blood Battle 2021 results on city of Negaunee’s website, both cities began this “fight” after Ishpeming City Manager Craig Cugini learned there was a blood shortage in the Upper Peninsula.

This led to the creation of the friendly competition between each city.

“The two cities originated this competition in order to focus on the need for supporting the local community and an increased demand for blood supply. We felt that a friendly neighborhood competition would aid in increasing the number of pints the blood center could draw in a single event,” Cugini said in an email to The Mining Journal on Wednesday. “Our hopes were realized in the first competition and grew further in the second year. We have increased the involvement of the two schools and have made this their annual rivalry. We are excited to continue the program and support our local schools in learning the value of volunteerism and supporting life through this vital programming by our regional blood center.”

The final tally for the 2022 Blood Battle ended in a close match with Ishpeming collecting 45 pints and Negaunee collecting 36 pints. The first Blood Battle in 2021 saw 77 pints in total from both cities. Ishpeming collected 24 pints in the first year and Negaunee collected 53 pints.

In total, 158 pints of blood were collected over the first two years. Each unit of blood collected represents three lives saved, according to Negaunee’s website. In the first two years, 474 lives have been saved.

“This is only made possible by the generosity and caring of these two towns working together for the greater good of the region,” officials said on the Blood Battle 2022 results webpage.

The city of Negaunee, local businesses and the Negaunee High School National Honor Society will hold their annual blood drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Negaunee High School auditorium.

“I encourage anyone who can give blood to please do so,” Negaunee City Manager Nate Heffron said in a Wednesday press release.

The Ishpeming community blood drive will be held at the Ishpeming High School gym from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 4. Appointments can be made at 906-315-1468. Walk-ins are welcome.

Dreyma Beronja can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 548. Their email address is dberonj@miningjournal.net.


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