Blood donations make local impact - FOX Carolina 21

Blood donations make local impact

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Anna Kate Eskew and her father donate blood at a Blood Connection blood mobile. (File/FOX Carolina) Anna Kate Eskew and her father donate blood at a Blood Connection blood mobile. (File/FOX Carolina)

Every day people across the Upstate get into a blood mobile, giving a little of themselves, but they may not realize what happens to the blood after it's donated.

"I love it," said Anna Kate Eskew. "I love helping people."

Eskew recently donated blood along with her father at a Blood Connection blood mobile.

"To really help the people that need it," Eskew said. "In the hospital, soldiers coming home from war, you don't realize how many people are really in need of blood."

Every bag and tube of blood donated goes to the Blood Connection's processing center in Piedmont where the blood is tested.

The blood must be kept cold and is scanned in as soon as it arrives at the center where it is tested for diseases like HIV and Hepatitis and it's labeled by type.

"We are here 24/7 at the Blood Connection," said Tracy Bridges, who is the Director of Technical Services with the Blood Connection.

Technicians make sure the blood is safe before it leaves the building.

"Because our commitment is to meet the needs of our hospitals, we work really hard to make sure those patients get that blood product," said Bridges.

Lab technicians also separate the plasma from the blood so they can be used for different medical treatments.

SLIDESHOW: From donor to patient, the path blood donations take

The blood is stored at the center until it's needed at an area hospital, where it is taken via cooler by a courier.

When the blood arrives at a local hospital, it is tested again to make sure it is a match for patients, depending on their needs.

"Cancer patients, trauma patients, people who are having surgery, we have small children that we transfuse," said Julie Mallory, Blood Bank lab manager at Greenville Hospital System.

It all relies on the kindness of strangers - those who donate blood, never knowing who will get it.

"We really, really appreciate all the people who do that and currently only a small percentage of the population does it, so the more people do it, the better off we are," said Mallory.

And that's a good feeling for Anna Kate Eskew. She knows donations help people but may not have realized just how much.

"It's really, really neat," said Eskew.

Because many patients are in need and there is a shelf life on blood, donations are always needed. That is the reason there are drives held throughout the area.

The Blood Connection's daily goal is 445 units of blood and the collected units go to 18 hospitals in the Upstate, western North Carolina and North Georgia.

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