By VICKI BROWN
According to the American Red Cross, there is a blood crisis across the United States with a shortage that is growing more urgent day by day. That crisis extends into South Carolina and into Colleton County.
Officials with Colleton County Fire-Rescue are reporting an extraordinary number of automobile accidents, highway injuries and fatalities that have occurred in the county since January of this year. Additionally, Harrison Hartley of Blood Connection, states that local blood stores have almost been depleted. More blood is needed to meet the critical demand in the hospitals, on ambulances and fire-rescue vehicles, she said.
Additionally, there is also another crucial reason for giving blood, especially if you have had COVID-19.
According to Hartley, a donation of convalescent plasma could help a neighbor who is currently battling this virus say Red Cross officials. As the number of positive COVID-19 cases are increasing, so is the need for this potentially lifesaving blood product. To help with this, the Blood Connection is offering COVID-19 Antibody Testing as a service to all donors.
This testing will detect if the donor’s blood contains the COVID-19 antibodies. Results will be made available seven business days after donation.
This is not COVID-19 diagnostic testing.
Blood donated through the Blood Connection stays in Colleton County and is used to help neighbors and friends. “If there is an overage, the blood will be sent to help victims in Texas who recently battled a severe snowstorm that left them with no water or power, and impassable roads that prevented individuals from donating blood to those in need,” said Hartley. “Texas and Louisiana blood centers have had to completely shut down, creating a critical need for blood donations. Despite the winter weather, patients in those impacted hospitals are still in great need of blood products,” he said.
“More businesses, churches and other institutions are encouraged to sponsor a blood drive,” said Hartley. “Site sponsors are indispensable to The Blood Connection.”
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Walterboro hosted a blood donation with Blood Connection. The blood donation drive was held in conjunction with the church’s monthly food giveaway, a program sponsored with the Lowcountry Food Bank.
According to coordinator Thelma Carter, coordinator of the church’s food drive, hundreds of people came to pick up the free food boxes. Volunteers from Mt. Olive Baptist Church and other churches throughout the county came to help package some of the food and load cars. Carter said she was gratified to see so many come to help and to also volunteer to give blood.
“It’s just a blessing that so many people volunteer to help us give out food,” said Carter. “We had hundreds of cars lined up to the highway, waiting for the food. And I am so happy that we can help people and bless them this way,” she added.
On the other side of the church, two large Blood Connection buses stood ready and waiting for blood donors. Bernice Perry was one of those who kept her appointment to donate blood.
“I am happy to do it,” said Perry. “I am glad I can give blood and help those in need.”
If your organization wants to sponsor a blood drive, contact the Blood Connection or go to their website.
Blood donation facts