UNION — The University of South Carolina Gamecocks have some serious crowing to do after beating the Clemson Tigers in Friday’s “Donation Duel” at the Union Medical Center.
For generations, the Gamecocks and Tigers have faced off in a rivalry that has divided South Carolina like no other. That rivalry has been primarily centered on the football field where USC and Clemson have faced each other for gridiron glory and bragging rights. While football remains the most popular forum for the rivalry between them, Gamecocks and Tigers have found other opportunities to face off against one another in the constant effort of both sides to best each other.
Of course, Gamecocks and Tigers have been known to (temporarily) put aside their differences and come together in the service of a good cause. As heartwarming as those (brief) truces are, even better are those times when Gamecocks and Tigers can continue their rivalry in the service of a greater good.
Friday was one of those opportunities with the “Donation Duel” at the Union Medical Center which pitted Gamecocks and Tigers against one another to see which side could register more organ donors. To help facilitate this competition in the service of a good cause, the Medical Center’s Main Lobby was decorated for both Carolina fans and Clemson fans with each team having their own table to sign up at.
A flier announcing the event asked the question, “Who rules? Clemson or Carolina?” and challenged both sides to turn out and “LET’S DECIDE THIS NOW….WHO RULES????”
That’s just what they did.
“It’s my great pleasure to say that the Carolina Gamecocks won the duel with a total of 19 new registrants,” Union County Healthcare Foundation Director Greta Bailey said. “The Clemson Tigers had 13 registrants. So we had a total of 32 new organ donors to register.”
By signing up the most new organ donors, the Gamecocks won the title of “Team of the Year!”
In addition to the new organ donors who signed up, Bailey pointed out that 76 people who were already organ donors showed up to support either the Gamecocks or the Tigers.
“We had people show up showing us they were already registered, but wanted to be counted as Clemson Tigers or Carolina Gamecocks,” Bailey said. “We had a total 76 organ donors come by and do this. Of the 76, 41 were Gamecocks and 35 were Tigers.”
While the Gamecocks won the competition, they and the Tigers both won the opportunity to possibly help save the lives of as many as 288 people.
“If you think about it, each organ donor has the potential to save nine lives,” Bailey said. “So if you multiply nine times 32 then our 32 participants on Friday could possibly save a total of 288 lives.”
Organ donors are badly needed because, as the flier announcing the competition pointed out, there are approximately 900 South Carolinians and a total of 123,000 people nationwide waiting on the donation of the organ(s) that could save their lives. That number grows every 10 minutes as another person is added to the numbers of those needing organ transplants. It continues to grow in spite of the fact that every day 22 people die waiting for the organ(s) they needed to save their lives.
For more about organ donations see upcoming editions of The Union Times and go online at our website (www.uniondailytimes.com) or our Facebook page.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.