What ‘the gift of life’ really means

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You’ve probably seen The Blood Connection’s mobile buses parked in various spots around town – maybe while out shopping, or picking up the kids from school, or maybe even where you work.

And that might be the closest you’ve ever come to donating blood. If so, Brianne Satterfield would like for you to consider her story.

Satterfield, a Greenville native, is a wife and mother of two – a daughter, 6, and son, 5. She has a career at Anderson University. But without the assistance of The Blood Connection, the 32-year-old woman’s life would have ended 14 years ago, when, as a junior in high school, she nearly lost her life in a car wreck.

“It was at night, and I was out with friends,” Satterfield recalled in a recent interview. “We were finishing up the school year. I was a passenger in the car, and on the way home, we were hit by a drunk driver.”

While she has little memory of the wreck itself – “I only know what has been told to me,” she said – the extent of her injuries will always be in her memories. She had grave internal injuries which necessitated the removal of her spleen. She also had liver damage. Her pelvis was crushed, and both her pelvis and right knee had to be reconstructed, she said.

“I had a lot of internal injuries,” she said. “Before they transported me to GHS, I was bleeding internally, and they could not find the source. They did exploratory surgery and discovered that my spleen was the source of the problem – that’s why it was removed.”

In the hours immediately after the wreck, Satterfield received a total of 12 units of blood, she said. Each unit is roughly equal to one pint, and to put it into perspective, the average adult human body contains between eight and 12 pints of blood.

“I was close to death,” Satterfield said of that night.

Roll the clock forward 14 years, and Satterfield said, “I’ve been able to live a normal life. I work. My husband and I have been married for seven years.

“Thankfully, we have places like The Blood Connection that can basically save a life. I don’t think that people really realize it until they look at a situation like mine – and not only my situation, but others’ – that you don’t really realize (the need). When people say, ‘You are saving a life by donating blood,’ you truly are giving a part of your life to help others.” –

– Brianne Satterfield Wife, mother, recipient, and survivor

You can make a difference

Satterfield’s story is just one example of how The Blood Connection saves lives, and the truth is that the need for blood products does not wane.

In total, The Blood Connection on a daily basis serves more than 70 hospitals throughout the Carolinas, 25 of which are in the Upstate. To meet those hospitals’ 24/7/365 needs, more than 500 units of blood must be collected daily, according to Terra Strange, a 13-year TBC veteran who is currently the organization’s promotions and community engagement coordinator. That demand can actually increase in the summer as trauma cases escalate for many reasons, including the increased summer travel.

In addition to visits from TBC’s fleet of blood mobiles, Strange said The Blood Connection has six donation centers across the state (five in the Upstate; one in Charleston), and two centers in North Carolina; all centers are open daily for donations.

For more information about area blood drives and events going on near you, please visit The Blood Connection’s website, thebloodconnection.org. There you can also learn about other ways you can help, such as by working with an organization to host a blood drive.

Satterfield said she often donates during blood drives on the Anderson University campus.

“I give every chance I can,” she said. “It’s very important to me. Because of donors like me, I’m alive today. I just want to give back.”

Blood Connection