If you’ve ever considered helping The Blood Connection meet the daily needs of the Upstate’s blood supply, now is the time to act.
Whether you’d like to donate blood yourself, or you have an opportunity to host one of TBC’s blood mobiles, the summer is the perfect opportunity for people to assist with The Blood Connection’s critical mission.
“The summer months – it’s hot, people are on vacation, they’re relaxing; they’re not really thinking about the importance of coming out and giving blood. Priorities change a little bit in the summer,” said Terra Strange, a 13-year TBC veteran who is currently the organization’s promotions and community engagement coordinator.
As if drumming up donors wasn’t challenging enough during the summer, Strange explained that one of TBC’s primary partners for larger blood drives is not available during the summer months.
“Schools are out in the summertime, and schools, when they’re in session, are a huge part of our blood drives,” she said. “So we don’t have the opportunity to have those larger blood drives that the schools help us with.”
Likewise, Strange said that churches aren’t as likely to hold blood drives during the warm months because their attendance numbers drop as members take summer vacations.
“We struggle (in the summer) to have businesses and organizations able to sponsor successful blood drives,” Strange said. “Even the plants we go to, a lot of times in the summertime they don’t host as many blood drives as they do during the cooler months, so that adds to the impact for us.”
The demand for blood, however, does not wane.
In total, The Blood Connection on a daily basis serves more than 55 hospitals throughout the Carolinas, 25 of which are in the Upstate. To meet those hospitals’ needs, Strange said more than 500 units of blood must be collected daily. That demand could increase in the summer as trauma cases escalate for many reasons, including the increased summer travel.
To drive donations during the summer months, Strange said The Blood Connection works to develop additional partnerships.
“With the summer months come festivals and special events,” she said. “Organizations put together special events that we would love to join and participate with. Even though it’s hot in the summertime, our mobile units do create a safe environment for people to donate blood, and also to be able to go back and enjoy the event.”
One special summertime partnership is with Greenville’s Minor League Baseball team, the Drive.
“We have sponsorships with the Greenville Drive where we have blood drives throughout the season and donors can come out and get special blood drive-Greenville Drive and TBC logoed hats and shirts, and tickets,” Strange said.
The folks at The Blood Connection are also creating events to help draw donors to their seven collection centers, each of which is open daily.
“We really ramp up our marketing campaign and try to create some fun events ourselves,” Strange said. “We have a Taco Tuesday campaign that kicks off in June – we give away a really fun T-shirt and gift cards for tacos.”
You can help
Are you associated with an organization that can host a summertime blood drive? “Not only do we need donors to come out and help,” said The Blood Connection’s Terra Strange, “we need the community to help by hosting blood drives and encouraging their organization or business to give back to the community.”
To learn more about hosting a blood mobile, please check out The Blood Connections’ website at thebloodconnection.org and click on the “Host a Blood Drive” link. While you’re on the website, you can also check to see what events are going on at TBC collection centers.