USC and UCLA cheerleaders, athletes and health care representatives gathered on Tuesday to kick off the second annual “Blood Bowl,” a citywide blood donation drive launched to help replenish faltering blood supplies throughout Southern California.
Blood bank levels are critically low during the football season and leading up to the holidays, which prompted the effort by the schools and participating16 hospitals.
“There’s nothing worse than walking out to a family and telling them that a surgery was cancelled because there is no blood, and it usually happens around the holidays,” said Jeffry Huffman, a practicing urologist as well as president and CEO of USC Care Medical Group.
USC Song and Yell Leaders stood by to cheer Huffman on while he invited his fellow physicians to a challenge. “I challenge you to donate as much blood as you transfuse,” he said, fashioning the dare after his own longstanding pact to give as much blood as he transfuses in the operating room. He also appealed to USC nurses, staff, students and fans to join in the rally.
“The rivalry is so huge. I think people will come out of the woodwork to donate for their team,” USC song leader Danielle Trocco said. “It’s a good way to use the rivalry for something positive.”
Trocco said she and yell leaders Ramon Mendoza and Tripp Charvat, came down to show support for the Trojan team. “We want to make sure USC wins this year,” she said. “Well, actually, it’s just important that people give blood. I think it’s a great tradition.”
If any city needs a friendly competition to bolster blood supplies, it’s Los Angeles, which has the lowest rate of blood donation in the country.
The Blood Bowl, sponsored by the Southern California Hospital Recruitment Alliance, awards one point to the appropriate school for blood donation and three points for platelets. The winning school will be announced at the USC/UCLA Football Game on Nov.18 during halftime.
For information on the blood drive, call the USC Blood and Platelet Donor Center at (323) 442-2923.