Sinking our teeth into the Vampire Cup

Sinking our teeth into the Vampire Cup

What is The Vampire Cup? It's not as ghoulish as it sounds.

It's the Australian Medical Students’ Association's annual blood drive, run as a competition between Australian medical schools. James Cook University has been its most successful for four years running – a labour of love for one determined medical student and our team in Townsville.

The northern dominance kicked off in early 2018 when Jack Bryant, a first-year medical student from James Cook University, approached Ben. James wanted to do something massive with the Vampire Cup, but was starting from a low base of about 50 donations in the previous year and very little engagement from the medical students on campus.

He came up with the idea to shoot some videos, set up activities at O-week, host student BBQ's, engage more media opportunities and visit the four residential halls on campus in a huge undertaking to improve the university's results in the Cup.

In the 2018 Vampire Cup early numbers were encouraging. After just three weeks of the competition, James Cook University Medical’ Students Association had taken the lead for the first time ever over perennial winners, University of Queensland. Jack was so buoyed by this, he doubled his efforts by setting a 100-donation week challenge. James Cook University Medical Students Association finished the 2018 Vampire Cup on 426 donations, saving up to 1,278 lives.

In 2019 Jack came up with the theme 'Rally the North' inspired by the hit show 'Game of Thrones'. His efforts resulted in a mind-blowing increase to 845 donations in the 2019 Vampire Cup and ending the 2019 calendar year with more than 3,000 donations. 2019 was the first year that James Cook University also won the National Tertiary Challenge which it did again in 2020.

Then COVID-19 hit.

With off-site learning mandatory for most James Cook University students, 500 winning donations for the 2021 Vampire Cup and retaining their title four years in a row was no mean feat.

James Cook University saves on average up to 10,000 lives per year with around 3,500 donations per year. Jack Bryant's efforts have been tireless and bring more than 300 new donors from the university each year to their Lifeblood Team.

This year Jack was promoted to the head of the Vampire Cup for the Australian Medical Students Association, which has already seen donation numbers increase significantly nationwide. He also took his passion to the next step and partnered with Dr Kathleen Chell from our Donor Research team to design a research project to investigate donor motivations for participating in the Vampire Cup and how competition influences short- and long-term blood donation behaviour.

Recruitment has finished and analysis is underway. We hope the findings will help continue to grow participation in the Vampire Cup in the years to come.

The Australian Medical Students Association AMSA Vampire Cup next kicks off in April 2022.

Register or join a team today