The Blood Connection: Saving Lives in Pitt County
The Blood Connection is on a life-saving mission in Pitt County. It connects the community with hospital patients who rely on the kindness of strangers to share life every day. Those patients are people in your community; mothers, brothers, sons, daughters, cousins, friends who get more time with their families because of someone’s simple decision to donate blood. TBC makes it possible for neighbors to help neighbors, but only with the support of selfless community members.
Founded in 1962 in Greenville, SC, The Blood Connection is the largest independently managed, non-profit community blood center in the region, with Greenville, NC being one of its newest regions. It currently supplies blood to around 20 hospitals in Central and Eastern North Carolina. In Pitt County specifically, TBC is the primary blood provider for Vidant Medical Center.
As a community blood center, all of the blood received through donations goes right back into the communities TBC serves. On average, it takes more than 600 blood donations per day to maintain an adequate, uninterrupted blood supply, with each donation saving up to three lives. Every two seconds, someone in the US needs a life-saving blood transfusion, and volunteer donors are the only source of the blood products that can save them. Blood products are used to help cancer patients, premature infants, burn victims, trauma cases, surgical procedures, and people with blood disorders. Chances are, we all know someone who has dealt with one of those. And because donors think giving blood is worth the time, those patients can have another birthday. That’s a powerful connection.
The blood center has been making many more connections in the past 10 years. In 2011, The Blood Connection started to expand, first into Western North Carolina. TBC continued to grow, and six years later, started serving parts of Central NC in the Triangle area around Raleigh, and into Eastern NC around Greenville and the coastal areas. Most recently, the blood center has expanded into Charleston, SC.
Even with the many advances of modern-day technology, there is still no replacement for blood. It cannot be replicated and has to come from another human being. A whole blood donation is the most common type and takes the least amount of time. Whole blood helps patients during trauma and surgeries. Other donation types include plasma, platelets, and double red cells. Those can take up to two hours and can only be done at a center. Each donation type helps patients in its own way: plasma for burn victims, platelets for cancer patients, and double red cells for anemia and blood disorders. A donation can help those patients get out of a hospital room and back to normalcy.
Unexpected events are a stark reminder of how important it is to donate before disaster strikes. It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives during tragedies. Not only do some patients need blood every day to survive, but the community must help stock the shelves in case of an emergency. TBC stands ready to supply blood in the case of national tragedies too, such as the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016.
Blood donors are heroes without a cape or costume. They fight with a superpower that runs through their veins, showing up in the middle of a hospital patient’s battle against cancer, a rare disease, or unexpected trauma. TBC is asking all eligible blood donors, heroes in disguise, to show up for their battle right now. Giving blood casts aside our differences to link the human race through a common, natural bond. TBC hopes the Pitt County community will share life freely to help accomplish its life-saving mission.
TBC collects blood from donors through blood mobiles, portable field units, and fixed donation sites. It holds blood drives every day. It needs committed blood drive hosts to keep up with the ever-increasing demand. The blood center can travel almost anywhere for a blood drive: schools, businesses, local events, hospitals, etc. If you’d like to partner with TBC to become a lifesaver, visit thebloodconnection.org to find out more about hosting a blood drive, or to find a drive near you. Blood donors must be healthy, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be 17 years old or 16 with written parental consent.
It’s simple: when people give, people live.