The Blood Connection
Verizon employee, Lakeisha Johnson, shows of her blue bandage after donating blood during a The Blood Connection blood drive hosted July 11 at Verizon’s call center, located in Greenville. Photo by The Blood Connection

There are many ways that local organizations can give back to the Upstate region they call home, but few involve such a selfless act as donating blood through The Blood Connection.

Just ask Alexis Reyer.

“You get a good feeling when you’re giving back in that way – it’s like you’re giving a piece of yourself to someone that you don’t even know, and I think that’s so beautiful,” said Reyer, who, in her role as the health and wellness coordinator for Verizon Wireless in Greenville, works with The Blood Connection to coordinate blood drives for the more than 1,000 Verizon employees who work at the business’s local call center.

“Verizon’s very much about giving back to the community, and that’s something we want to focus on: reminding people that this is what we want to do; this is what we’re all about,” Reyer said. “We want to help the community in any way we can, and if (The Blood Connection) can come to us, it makes it easy on our reps.”

She said Verizon hosts a blood drive at least once a quarter and noted that bringing The Blood Connection to Verizon makes it not only convenient for employees, but efficient for the business, which relies on careful scheduling to ensure customers’ calls are answered promptly.

“First and foremost, from a business standpoint, it makes it very convenient for the employees who are working here because they don’t have to leave their place of work, they can do it on their lunch break,” Reyer explained. “For our employees, we have a strict schedule for them in terms of when they need to be on the phones because phones need to be covered, so we can set aside time for them and make sure they can get off the phones if they (want to) donate.”

AREAS OF SERVICE

The Blood Connection

Another Greenville-area business reported similarly positive results from hosting blood drives in partnership with The Blood Connection. Office Park Patewood, which comprises 30 businesses in six buildings, holds a blood drive every eight weeks, according to Courtney Walters, tenant services coordinator for business.

Walters praised The Blood Connection for making it easy to host blood drives.

“We get the flyers from The Blood Connection and we do a mass email out to the whole office park letting them know when The Blood Connection will be here and where they can sign up,” she said. “They usually bring two buses, and they’re usually here from 10 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, and they stay consistently busy.

“It takes no effort on our part,” she added, “It’s just having the communication with The Blood Connection that enables this to happen.”

Answering an Ongoing Need

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, the organization’s promotions and community engagement coordinator. And, Strange said, that demand can actually increase in the summer as trauma cases escalate for many reasons, including the increased summer travel.

Delisa English, president and CEO of The Blood Connection, noted the importance of the involvement of local organizations in making it possible for The Blood Connection to continue to meet the constant demand.

“Our blood drives’ hosts are the pillars of what we do,” English said. “Supplying blood to our community hospitals starts with a supportive blood-drive host. We are so thankful for the organizations and businesses who have stepped up to stand alongside us in our mission to save lives. Here in the Upstate, we’re fortunate to have a strong group of them, but we’d love for that group to grow even more.”

Residents who want to help but are not affiliated with an organization that can host a blood drive can still roll up their sleeves and give blood, Strange said. In addition to blood drives, The Blood Connection also has six donation centers across the state (five in the Upstate; one in Charleston), and two centers in North Carolina, and all centers are open daily for donations.

The Blood Connection

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