The battle between UT and Kentucky will draw blood before the teams set foot on the gridiron.

UT's football record against Kentucky stands at 75-24-9, but the record for Medic Regional Blood Center's annual Battle of the Orange and Blue is much closer.

Both Tennessee and Kentucky hold 12 wins each and one draw.

Christi Fightmaster, director of public relations at Medic, encourages Knoxville residents to join the competition, which kicks off this week.

"It is a fun way to play off the football rivalry and get the community involved," Fightmaster said.

Monday through Friday, Medic will be accepting donations in rooms 223-225 of the University Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Additional donation hours will be held from 12-8 p.m. in the lobbies of South Carrick Hall on Tuesday and Hess Hall on Thursday.

Anyone who donates blood during the campus drive at one Medic's local donor centers, located at 1601 Ailor Ave. in Knoxville and 11000 Kingston Pike in Farragut, will also count towards UT's total in the competition.

Kirby Knight, a UT freshman majoring in communications and theater, has personally required a blood transfusion.

"When I was very young, too young for me to actually remember, I was diagnosed with cancer and at several different times had to receive blood to live," Knight said.

Although Kirby Knight has no memories of her early childhood disease, her mother, Lori Knight, recalls the experience clearly.

"At only 4 months old my daughter was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer, she had to endure several surgeries," Lori Knight said. "After her third surgery her blood count was very low and continued to get lower. After a CT scan, it revealed that her kidney had been lacerated during the surgery and she was bleeding internally. She had to receive several units of blood in the hospital. Also certain chemo treatments that she had would cause her blood counts to drop and she would require several more blood transfusions."

Lori Knight, who works in a hospital, took great comfort in the readiness of blood when her daughter's life depended on it.

"It was a wonderful feeling knowing the blood was readily available for her to receive transfusions," she said. "This was all possible from those who are very gracious in donating blood."

Fightmaster said UT fans haven't done as well in the contest over the past few years.

"UT fans have lost the Battle of the Orange and Blue the last three years," Fightmaster said. "Kentucky fans have proudly kept the traveling trophy for three years."

The key to giving more blood and winning the competition, in Fightmaster's opinion, is group participation.

"Last year we did have great support but in order to beat Kentucky we're going to need groups of people to come donate together so we can boost our numbers," she said.

Due to the yearly decline in donations during the holiday season, Medic needs as many donors during the Battle of the Orange and Blue as possible.

"The whole point of this event is to collect enough blood to supply our hospitals during the holiday season," she said. "So, the more we collect the more blood this community has for life-saving transfusions from Thanksgiving to Christmas."

Medic is offering multiple incentives to anyone who donates blood that week. Donors will be given a T-shirt, a small one-topping Papa John's pizza and a small Wendy's Frosty.