By Wendy Pollitzer
In case you’re like me, had a well-intended New Year’s resolution at the beginning of the month, tried it for a few weeks and slowly descended in the opposite direction of success, then I say, let’s start over. Why not try again for a more attainable resolution with a reasonable goal? I’ve got one. Let’s give blood. Let’s all give blood twice this year. It’s so easy, it costs nothing and it could save a life. And, it’s our civic responsibility.
I am healthy, and I am able to give. I am one of roughly 40 percent of the population that qualifies to donate. Sadly, only less than 10 percent actually do. I want to help that statistic exponentially increase in Beaufort. And I know that it can. We are a giving community, always have been. But donations don’t always have to be in the form of dollars. It’s time we remember that the most important investment we can collectively make is not through a financial bank. It’s through a blood bank.
We are fortunate that we have a blood bank right here in Beaufort, The Blood Alliance, located at 1001-A Boundary St. in Newcastle Square. You’ve probably seen the bus parked on Charles Street, one of The Blood Alliance’s newest resources. Anyone can come in to donate, and the best part is that the blood donated here stays here. That’s right. Unlike other blood banks that distribute globally, The Blood Alliance ensures that its supply is used within our community.
The Blood Alliance has been enriching lives since 1942 providing blood to more than 30 hospitals in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. It is the sole provider of blood to the Lowcountry and its area hospitals that include Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Hilton Head Island Hospital, Coastal Carolina Hospital, East Cooper Medical Center, Winn Army Hospital and Effingham Health System.
Especially in need at present is Blood Type O Negative. In fact, there is a nationwide shortage. The Blood Alliance is fortunate to be part of the AABB (American Association of Blood Banks) that assists with importing and exporting blood in demand. The problem is that no one has O Negative. It’s a big problem! Please, if you are type O Negative, The Blood Alliance needs your help. If you don’t know your blood type, come to The Blood Alliance. They will develop an online donor profile for you, in addition to checking your blood pressure and cholesterol.
We’ll never know when an emergency will arise, whether it be a mass catastrophe, a complication during surgery or a car accident. But, we can be prepared. Giving blood can save lives. That’s all there is to it. It can save your neighbor’s life, and it can save yours. And the more we have in Beaufort County, the better.
If donors gave just two times a year, shortages could be prevented. To become a blood donor, you need to be at least 17 years old, over 110 pounds, and in good general health.
The need for blood is constant. It does not take a break; in fact, during the summer, donations tend to decrease as donors go on vacation and off their regular work schedules, while the need for blood increases with more people on the roads resulting in more accidents. The most important donation is the next one. Blood cannot be manufactured or harvested, making each of us the only resource for life.
Whole blood is made up of three components: plasma, red blood cells and platelets. It only takes about an hour to give blood, and your one donation of whole blood can be broken down into those three components to save three different lives. The most important part of giving the gift of life is taking that first step to donate with The Blood Alliance.
Dr. Bradford Collins, Pathologist at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, has been the Medical Director at Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) since 1996, and BMH has been affiliated with The Blood Alliance since 2002.
“Through generous support, the partnership between The Blood Alliance and Beaufort Memorial Hospital has secured a steady and reliable blood supply in our area and also has improved the service we’re able to provide as an organization. We can’t possibly begin to thank the everyday donor enough,” says Dr. Collins.
And BMH’s next patient could be you or a loved one. So, it’s time for you to donate, and you’re probably eligible. For a list of possible deferrals, please visit The Blood Alliance’s website at www.igiveblood.com.
The Blood Alliance Donor Center is at 1001-A Boundary St. in Beaufort. Donors can give blood from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and from noon to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, go to www.igiveblood.com or call 843-522-0409.
Give blood today. It is the gift of life.
UPCOMING BLOOD DRIVES
The Blood Alliance Donor Center is at 1001-A Boundary Street in Beaufort. Donors can give blood from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and from noon to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays. For more information or to schedule an appointment, go to www.igiveblood.com or call 843-522-0409.
• Jan. 30: Whale Branch Early College High, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Jan. 31: Whale Branch Early College High, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Feb. 10: Spring Island, 8 a.m. to noon
• Feb. 10: Callawassie Island, 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.
• March 2: St. John’s Lutheran Church, 7:30 a.m. to noon
• March 3: Battery Creek High School, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• March 9: The Link at Wardle Family YMCA, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m..
• March 10: Beaufort High School, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• March 11: Beaufort County Government Center, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• March 23: Tidal Creek Fellowship Church, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• March 25: Beaufort County School District, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m..
• March 27: Technical College of the Lowcountry, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.