TROY, Ohio – Those Miami County rivals are at it again. The annual US Bank, Community Blood Center (CBC) Troy-Piqua Challenge Blood Drive got underway today (Monday, Sept. 24) at Troy High School with a new show of determination for recruiting the most donors for the blood drive and scoring the most points on the football field.

The two communities shared bragging rights last year with Piqua claiming the blood drive title and Troy winning the rivalry game. It was the same split the year before, but this year each side is hoping for a sweep.

“At the end of the day if we generate more pints of blood, whether we win or lose, it’s still positive for the Community Blood Center,” said Troy High School’s new principal Bill Overla. “It’s a healthy competition. If you live in this community and know anything about this rivalry, you just want to win.”

Troy High School launched the 2012 competition with Monday’s drive and Piqua High School will hold its campus drive Wednesday, Sept. 26. The community blood drive competition follows with the US Bank – Troy branch hosting a drive Monday Oct. 1, followed by the US Bank – Piqua branch drive on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

Anyone who registers to donate at the US Bank drives can designate their “vote” for either community. The community “votes” will be combined with the high school totals and the winner will be announced before kick-off at the Troy-Piqua football game Friday, Oct. 26 at Piqua High School’s Wertz Stadium.

The game will be the 128th renewal of the rivalry, one of the oldest in the state.

This marks the 15th year US Bank has served as host and sponsor of the Troy-Piqua Challenge. US Bank will award a $1,000 check to the winning high school for purchase of educational materials and equipment.

The Troy High School blood drive got off to a great start with sponsorship by the ASTRA club, the service organization for Young Altrusans. Co-advisors Angela Slusher and Angie Wiley (both special needs faculty members) co-chaired the blood drive.

“It’s been going great,” said Angie Wiley. “We had some students who couldn’t donate, but then had others that came in to donate who hadn’t even signed up.”

Club treasurer Katelyn Usserman was one of several ASTRA members volunteering in the Donor Café, and also planned to donate. “I had heart surgery,” she said, pointing to the long scar below her neckline. “I’m trying to give back to the community.”

Katelyn handed a juice cup to junior Cody Fair, who had just completed his first lifetime donation. He was inspired to donate after a friend told him about her sister needing a blood transfusion. “She didn’t tell me to do it,” Cody said, “but it had an impact on me.”

Junior Victoria Schlerman summed up her commitment to helping save lives as she stopped by the hydration station for some water before making her first-time donation. To Victoria it goes beyond the Troy-Piqua rivalry. “I’m an organ donor,” she said. “I wanted to.”

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