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Cat-Griz Blood Battle comes to an end amid national blood shortage

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Posted at 4:26 PM, Nov 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 12:00:09-05

The annual Cat-Griz Blood Battle comes to an end on November 11, 2021, with the Cats projected to collect a little over 150 units of blood.

Though competition between Montana State University and the University of Montana can garner bragging rights and a victory, this year is unique, Thomas Hensley said. Hensley is an account manager for the American Red Cross.

“There is a national blood emergency right now,” Hensley said, “Our primary responsibility is our hospitals in Montana, we do have the capability because the American Red Cross has such a strong distribution system to augment other areas that may be in need.”

Nationwide, 10,000 units of blood need to be donated a week to keep up with the ever-growing demand from hospitals. Following a donation, the blood will be shipped to Great Falls, where the platelets, plasma, and red blood cells are separated.

“From there it goes to our general inventory and it gets distributed to our Montana hospitals as needed,” Hensley said.

Cyndy O’Connor, a graduate from the University of Montana, joined the Cats today for the final drive. Even though she may have donated for MSU, she donated her blood for her state.

“I’m an O-donor, and they’re constantly asking for O-donors because it’s a universal donor,” O’Connor said.

Beginning back in 1986, O’Connor highlights the ease of donating blood, regardless of where you live.

“Medically you might not be able to, but that’s rare, everybody can donate blood,” O’Connor said.

The Blood Battle may be coming to an end, but the need does not. In Bozeman, there is a blood drive nearly every day, according to Hensley.

To find blood drives near you, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or visit

“It’s a celebration and a victory because we know we made a difference in the community,” Hensley said.