UNION — One bag of donated blood can save three lives and as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday the Blood Connection had collected enough from the staff of Wallace Thomson Hospital to save 24 lives.
According to its website (thebloodconnection.org), The Blood Connection was founded in 1962 as the Greenville Blood Assurance Plan to supply the needs of Greenville County by recruiting volunteer blood donors for the county’s hospitals. In 1973, the organization’s board began discussing the possibility of regional blood program involving neighboring counties. This organization was chartered in 1977 and, in 1978, the Greenville Blood Assurance Plan was merged into the Carolina Blood Center which coordinated the area’s blood collection and distribution resources.
In 1981, the service was extended to communities in Georgia and the organization became the Carolina-Georgia Blood Center, the name it would be known as until 2000 when it was renamed The Blood Connection. The new name was selected because it reflected the organization’s mission of providing an adequate, safe, and cost-effective blood supply for hospitals in northwestern South Carolina, western North Carolina, and northeastern Georgia.
One of those hospitals is Wallace Thomson and a Blood Connection bus was there Tuesday morning collecting blood from hospital staffers.
“We have 11 buses we take out every day with 500 bags of blood coming back every day,” Team Leader Craig Smith said. “We’re here from 9 a.m. to noon and when we leave here we’ll take a break for awhile then we’ll go to a Milliken plant for more blood donations.”
Smith said collecting donations from multiple blood drives in a single day is not unusual for The Blood Connection.
“You’re talking sometimes 30 blood drives a day,” Smith said.
As of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, The Blood Connection had collected eight bags of blood, enough to save 24 lives.
“One bag saves three lives,” Smith said. “They can separate the blood into platelets and plasma. That goes to burn victims and cancer patients.”
By the time the bus left Wallace Thomson, it had collected another four bags, enough to save another 12 lives.
There is a continuous need for for a constant supply of those lifesaving bags as, according to The Blood Connection website, 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.
Despite the great need, the website states that only 37 percent of the population of the United States is eligible to donate blood and only 10 percent donate each year. The Blood Connection’s goal is to collect 100,000 plasma, platelets, and whole blood donations each year.
In 2012, Wallace Thomson received 1,346 units of packed red blood cells from The Blood Connection.
For more information about The Blood Connection go to thebloodconnection.org.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.