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Columbus, Ohio – While the Buckeyes and Wolverines are gearing up for a gridiron face-off, another battle is brewing off the field: The Buckeye-Wolverine Challenge for Life.

In its fifth year, the life-saving competition is designed to motivate fans across the states of Ohio and Michigan to save lives and register as organ and tissue donors. The states are competing to see who can register the most new organ and tissue donors before Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010. Currently, Michigan is winning by more than 19,000 new registrants.

The competition has received support from The Ohio State University football coach, Jim Tressel.

“Ohio has won the competition since its inception in 2006, proving that Ohio State has the best fans in the land,” said Tressel, a registered organ and tissue donor. “It’s gratifying to see the generosity of citizens in both states, but we need our Buckeye fans to step up again this year.”

“To see the way donation affects an entire family is incredible. The difference you can make as a donor is unparalleled,” he added. Tressel’s close friend and colleague, Bob Mansfield, received a transplant in 1995.

Mansfield, academic encourager for The Ohio State University football team, was shocked when he was diagnosed with kidney failure in 1992. Healthy and athletic all his life, Mansfield’s illness was a major setback.

“I started to feel like there wasn’t any hope,” he said. After more than two grueling years on dialysis, Mansfield received a kidney transplant and a second chance at life from a deceased donor.

“Now, I’m probably every bit as strong as I’ve ever been in my life,” said Mansfield of his post-transplant health. “Thanks to my donor, I live a normal life and I try to be an advocate for donation.”

Mansfield added that the Buckeye-Wolverine Challenge is a great way to get the word out about donation, and the need for donors is crucial. More than 109,000 people nationwide are waiting for a life-saving transplant including 3,000 Ohioans.

Every day 18 people die waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S. By registering as a donor, one individual has the potential to save eight lives through organ donation and enhance the lives of 50 others through tissue donation.

Buckeye fans can help Ohio beat “the team up north” off the field — and save lives — by placing their name in the Ohio Donor Registry today by visiting www.lifelineofohio.org/beatmichigan.