PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Longtime rivals Illinois State University and Bradley University went head-to-head today to try and give the most blood.

Challenge on 74 started in 2011. The friendly competition brings in blood donors to help bolster the American Red Cross blood supply.

This couldn’t have come at a better time — according to regional communications manager Brian Williamsen, who says every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood.

“It’s just so important that we have volunteer blood donors,” he says. “Blood cannot be manufactured — the only way that the blood is available is through the people you see behind me right now who are donating their time, donating their blood to potentially help save lives.”

The need for blood is constant… so each donor received a free t-shirt for their generous lifesaving gift.

According to Williamsen, it’s doing something bigger than yourself. What better way to help somebody out than by rolling up your sleeve and giving blood.

“Somebody could be going through a difficult pregnancy, car crash, cancer… the list is very long of people who need blood,” he says.

Donating is important to Jacob Weinberg because he says his parents always instilled in him to help others in need.

The aspiring doctor says he thinks its good they joined ISU in this friendly competition.

“I feel privileged I have the ability to donate blood because they’re a lot of people that unfortunately due to illness can’t donate blood or they’re the ones that need my blood,”
says Weinberg. “So the fact that I’m standing on two legs and able to come here today… it’s awesome.”

The president of Bradley’s Red Cross Club, says he thinks it’s fantastic this has become an annual tradition and so many students stepped up to take part.

ISU Freshman Samir Erha donated for the first time. He was inspired by his competitive spirit and his father who works for the United Nations helping refugees.

“It’s just like your kind of duty as being a good citizen I guess, giving blood if you can. I’m like super healthy, I have no problems nothing like that. So, yeah I thought it’d be nice,” he said. “We’re competing with Bradley so if we win then we can rub it in their faces and we can help people at the same time.”