University of Delaware
Namy Luna gives blood during the CAA Blood Challenge event on Nov. 14.

Blood Challenge champs

UD captures CAA Blood Challenge title thanks to 1,232 donors


2:17 p.m., Dec. 19, 2012--The University of Delaware has captured the Colonial Athletic Association Blood Challenge title once again thanks to a record-setting effort.

The 11th-annual CAA Blood Challenge was judged a huge success overall as 4,613 productive units of blood were collected from 4,381 donors on 10 CAA campuses, nearly 30 percent of them on the UD‚Äącampus.

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UD captured the CAA Blood Challenge title for the second year in a row and for the sixth time overall. The University had a school-record 1,232 donors, which is also the highest yearly total in the history of the event.

Over the 11-year history of the event, the CAA Blood Challenge has resulted in 36,719 productive units of blood.

“The University of Delaware is extremely proud once again to have captured the CAA Blood Challenge title,” said Eric Ziady, director of athletics and recreation services. “We want to thank everyone who took part in this great program and gave a life-saving gift to those who need it most. I have been here at Delaware for only a few months, but already I have seen how caring and supportive the University of Delaware community can be and how eager they are to come together and give to a great cause.”

“It was another incredibly successful year for the CAA Blood Challenge with more than 4,600 units of blood donated,” CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said. “This event continues to grow and it shows the level of support for this important program by all of our institutions. The outstanding efforts put forth by our students, faculty and administrators will have a positive impact on the lives of thousands of people during a critical time for blood donations over the holiday season. The CAA would like to thank everyone who took time to donate blood and the volunteers who helped make this event such a big success.”

Said Jerry Oravitz, UD’s director of football operations and the University CAA Blood Challenge site coordinator, “The University of Delaware athletics and recreation services department is thrilled to retain the 2012 CAA Blood Challenge championship. Thank you to everyone on the UD campus and everyone in our local community who took the time to donate and help save a life.”

Added Oravitz, “Winning the CAA Blood Challenge is another great example of the University of Delaware and the Delaware community coming together in an effort to help save lives. On behalf of the University of Delaware Department of Athletics and Recreation Services, I would like to commend the Blood Bank of Delmarva, UD Conference Services, and all of the volunteers for a fantastic job in organizing our first UD multi-site Blood Challenge. Through these new and expansive initiatives we were able to bring back the CAA Blood Challenge championship to UD.”

George Mason University placed second in the CAA Blood Challenge for the third year in a row with a school-record 1,114 donors, which is also the second highest yearly total in the history of the event. It is the second year in a row that two different schools have had more than 1,000 donors participate.

Drexel University finished third with 578 donors.

After working hard to regain the CAA Blood Challenge title last year, the University of Delaware and the Blood Bank of Delmarva worked together again this year in an attempt to continue what started in 2011.

“Last year our staff was keenly focused on taking the CAA Blood Challenge to the next level,” said Roy Roper, president and CEO of the Blood Bank of Delmarva. “We were determined to continue the trend in 2012 and started planning early. I am very proud of our staff, the students, administration, faculty and alumni of the University of Delaware. Everyone, including members of our local community and our corporate sponsors, showed their support from the minute the drive began in the early morning hours until the last donor of the evening. This is an outstanding achievement and we are very happy to keep the CAA Blood Challenge trophy in Newark, Del. Winning a competition is exciting, but we all realize that the true winners are the patients who have been helped by the selfless donations of blood from all those who came out on Nov. 14.”

The CAA Blood Challenge was developed by the conference presidents as a fun way to emphasize the critical importance of donating blood. Each CAA institution worked with its local blood service center and designated one day during the fall term to conduct a campus-wide blood drive.

Student groups, faculty, staff and alumni were all encouraged to participate.

All 10 CAA institutions able to participate had at least 120 donors participate in the program. Georgia State University finished fourth with 344, Hofstra University was fifth (252) and Towson University was sixth (243). James Madison University, which saw a 16 percent increase in donors from last year’s event, finished seventh (182), followed by the University of North Carolina Wilmington (181), the College of William and Mary (133) and Old Dominion University (122). Northeastern University was not able to participate in the blood drive this fall after its event was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.

Yeager will present UD with an award in recognition of its outstanding achievement during a basketball game this winter.

Photos by Ambre Alexander

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