PIEDMONT — Billboard messages in the Upstate will need a second look this week because they’re missing the letters “A,” “O” and “B”. The Blood Connection (TBC) hopes to generate awareness about the need for all blood types leading up to the “Missing Types” Blood Drive starting Thursday, Aug. 18 and continuing through Monday, Aug. 22. TBC also hopes to encourage younger populations to roll up their sleeves.
“The Blood Connection continues to have a giving, supportive donor base, but there’s growing concern about a national gap in the 25 to 40 age group, which holds true for our local blood populations,” said President and CEO Delisa English. “There’s also cause for concern because fewer new donors are coming forward. As the baby boomer generation slowly ages out of the donor pool we want younger generations to know we are missing their donations. We need them to help us fill the gaps in types, all types. We also encourage everyone to know their type and to give more often.”
Blood is divided into one of four main blood types — A, B, AB, and O — and these are based on the presence or absence of specific antigens on red blood cells. Blood types are inherited and consist of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. While each type is urgently needed every day, the universal type O-negative tends to be the one most often transfused during emergencies, when there’s no time to identify a patient’s blood type.
TBC’s “Missing Types” Blood Drive is inspired by a successful global campaign that illustrates what’s missing from circulation, visualizing a challenge that’s often not recognized. Here, TBC identifies each blood type and donor population.
According to English, there are many reasons for the decline in new people coming forward to donate. “Some attribute the reduction to busy lifestyles as well as other good causes that compete for a donor’s time and attention. “Plus, many people are travelling more and when they’ve gone to certain places they may be deferred. That’s why we want everyone to know we have a donor population gap that we need to fill, with an ongoing need for every blood type. First time donors have the potential to safeguard the future of the blood supply.”
The “Missing Types” Blood Drive will begin this Thursday, Aug. 18, and donors will receive a special designed t-shirt. Donors are asked to look for TBC’s red and white buses or come into a donation center located at 435 Woodruff Road, Greenville; 341 Old Abbeville Highway, Greenwood; 1954 East Main Street, Easley; 1308 Sandifer Boulevard, Seneca; 270 North Grove Medical Park Drive, Spartanburg; and 825 Spartanburg Highway, in Hendersonville, NC.
Founded in 1979 in Greenville, SC, The Blood Connection (TBC) is the largest independently managed, non-profit community blood center in the region. It recruits donors and collects blood within an 8,390 square mile area of South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. In South Carolina, TBC supports Greenville, Spartanburg, Union, Pickens, Oconee, Greenwood, McCormick, Laurens, and Newberry Counties. In Georgia, TBC supports Stephens County.
In 2011, The Blood Connection expanded into Western North Carolina and now serves Polk, Buncombe, Transylvania, McDowell, Macon, Franklin and Henderson Counties.
Licensed and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, TBC collects blood from donors through bloodmobiles, portable field units, and fixed donation sites. It holds approximately twelve blood drives every day and collects over 120,000 units of blood, platelets and plasma each year to connect volunteer blood donors, hospitals, and patients needing life-saving transfusions. For more information, contact The Blood Connection or visit thebloodconnection.org.
This story courtesy of The Blood Connection.