UNION — Residents of Union County will have the opportunity Friday to be heroes by rolling up their sleeves and making a donation that cannot only save lives but honor the memory of law enforcement personnel who gave their lives in the line of duty.
The Hejaz Shrine Club and The Blood Connection are sponsoring a blood drive on Friday from 11 a.m-7 p.m. in the parking lot at Wal-Mart.
“The Blood Connection will be bringing their Bloodmobile and the Shriners will be their working with them,” Shriner Danny Rodgers said Wednesday. “We’ve been working with the Blood Connection for the past four or five years.”
The event, which is called “Badge of Honor,” is part of the 13th Annual Law Enforcement Memorial Blood Drive. A flier publicizing the event states that The Blood Connection will make a donation to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The fund is dedicated to honoring and remembering the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers in the United States.
The Blood Connection supplies blood to a total of 22 hospitals in northeastern Georgia, western North Carolina, and northwestern South Carolina, including Wallace Thomson Hospital. In order to do this, The Blood Connection conducts an ongoing series of blood drives in its service area.
Thursday’s blood drive is the latest of these, but those who donate will have the option of designating their blood to go to the Shriners Hospital in Greenville if it is needed.
“We will set up a canopy with chairs and a sign-up table next to the Bloodmobile,” Rodgers said. “We will ask the people to sign a consent paper giving us permission to use their blood at the Shriners Hospital if needed. If that type of blood is not needed it will go where The Blood Connection sends it to where it is needed such as the area hospitals.”
People who donate blood Friday will each receive a free t-shirt.
Each pint of blood donated can save up to three lives and each hospital that receives a pint of blood from The Blood Connection has the option of splitting it into platelets, plasma, and red blood cells or using it as whole blood as need dictates.
According to The Blood Connection website (thebloodconnection.org) a blood transfusion is required for a wide range of medical situations including accident victims, chemotherapy patients, and persons undergoing organ transplants. It further states that the American Association of Blood Banks estimates an average of 23 million units of blood are transfused into patients each year in the United States.
The website further states that “someone needs a blood transfusion every two seconds, and one in ten patients entering a hospital will need blood. Over 500 people need to donate every day to meet the daily needs of the hospitals we serve and be prepared for emergencies. In order to collect the units needed, The Blood Connection must screen between 550-600 people a day for blood, platelet, plasma and double red cell units. Blood is good for only 42 days, so donors are needed every day to ensure a stable blood supply.”
Even though donated blood has a shelf life of only 42 days, none of the blood collected by The Blood Connection is ever discarded as there is a constant need by the hospitals in the organization’s service area for blood.
The website also lists the amount of blood and blood products needed to save the lives of persons facing the following medical conditions:
• Automobile Accident: 50 units of blood
• Heart Surgery: 6 units of blood, 6 units of platelets
• Organ Transplant: 40 units of blood, 30 units of platelets, 20 bags of cryoprecipitate, 25 units of fresh frozen plasma
• Bone Marrow Transplant: 120 units of platelets, 20 units of blood
• Burn: 20 units of platelets
Rodgers urged the people of Union County to donate blood during Friday’s blood drive.
“Give the gift of life, give blood,” Rodgers said. “There’s no substitute for blood.”