Florida Holds Slim Big Blue Slam Lead Over Kentucky Jan. 25, 2023

Kentucky Blood Center Needs a Strong Showing Over Final Two Days to Come Back

Florida leads Kentucky 763-743 after three days of Big Blue Slam 2023.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky remains in firm striking distance to win another Big Blue Slam, but Big Blue Nation will have to live up to its name with a big final two days to overcome a slim Florida lead.

The Gators maintained their advantage with another slight donor gain on Wednesday. With 251 donors giving blood on day three of the five-day competition, LifeSouth Community Blood Center in Florida nudged a little further ahead with a current 763-743 lead. Kentucky Blood Center registered 242 donors Wednesday.

“The good news is we are right there with Florida,” said Mandy Brajuha, vice president of external relations for KBC. “This competition has been extremely tight from the start, and chances are this is going to come down to the very end. But, if we’re going to win this event – and more importantly, pack the shelves full of lifesaving blood for the second half of winter – we need a strong final two days. If I know anything about BBN, they’re going to accept this challenge and show up for local patients in need.”

At no point has either side led by more than 20 donors in the 15th annual competition, but Wednesday’s 242 donors was KBC’s lowest turnout of the week. Thursday and Friday have traditionally been the largest collection days of the event, so KBC is calling on Kentucky fans to pack its eight donor centers and mobile drives to counter Florida’s momentum.

Leveraging two passionate fan bases that take great pride in supporting their local universities and teams, KBC and LifeSouth utilize Big Blue Slam as an opportunity to shore up the blood supply during a challenging time of the year for collections. Inclement weather and seasonal illnesses typically impede donations in the winter, plus donor turnout in December was one KBC’s worst in recent years.

Donors can turn the tide in January and defeat Florida over the final two days of the competition. All eight donor centers will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and mobile drives are available in select areas throughout the state, including at the University of Kentucky’s student center. Big Blue Slam availability can be found at kybloodcenter.org/events/big-blue-slam-2023.

All donors will receive a 'Basketball School' shirt and be entered to win two tickets to the UK-Florida game on Feb. 4 at Big Blue Slam.

A gray “Basketball School” long-sleeve shirt will be provided for donors who give blood as a thank you. Donors will also will be entered to win two lower-level tickets to the UK-Florida men’s basketball game in Rupp Arena on Feb. 4. A blue “Football School” long-sleeve shirt was provided to donors for Big Blue Crush in November.

Kentucky leads 8-6 in the friendly rivalry vs. Florida and is seeking the first three-year winning streak in the event.

Ranging from cancer treatments to surgeries, premature births, anemia, transplants and more, blood transfusions are needed for one in every seven hospital visits. As the state’s largest FDA-licensed nonprofit blood bank, KBC provides for more than 70 hospitals in Kentucky.

Blood donors must be at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds, be in general good health, show a photo I.D. and meet additional requirements. Sixteen-year-old donors must have a signed parental permission slip, which can be found at kybloodcenter.org.

Donors can schedule an appointment at kybloodcenter.org or call 800.775.2522. Appointments are highly encouraged during Big Blue Slam. Walk-ins will be accepted as space allows.

About Kentucky Blood Center

Celebrating 55 years of saving lives in Kentucky, KBC is the largest independent, full-service, nonprofit blood center in Kentucky. Licensed by the FDA, KBC’s sole purpose is to collect, process and distribute blood for patients in Kentucky. KBC provides services in 90 Kentucky counties and has donor centers in Lexington, Louisville, Frankfort, Pikeville, Somerset and the Tri-County area.