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December, January and February are typically the most challenging months for blood and plasma donations, yet they are the months when donations are needed the most.
"If I had to rank the month that is the hardest for blood donations, I'd say it's February," said Allie Van Dyke, partnerships & media coordinator for the Blood Connection. "Especially coming off a low December and January. By the time we get to February, we've had three months of need."
The Blood Connection is an independently-managed nonprofit blood center. Its focus is to provide local communities and local hospitals with safe and adequate, cost-effective blood supplies that help patients.
"People are in need of blood products every single day, and for things that people don't necessarily think about. There are obvious reasons like trauma and surgeries, but then there are people who have cancer who require a platelet transfusion, people who have blood disorders, people with transplants, etc.," said Van Dyke.
"We need 800 donations a day for local hospitals. We serve the Carolinas and more than 80 hospitals, so we need to make sure that we have 800 per day. And if we have a week or so when we don't meet that goal, that's when we get into the urgency level that we're in right now."
The Blood Connection also needs donations of convalescent plasma, which is the top therapy for treating COVID-19. Donors who have already had COVID can donate their convalescent plasma, and all blood donors are automatically tested for the COVID antibodies for free.
The Blood Connection bloodmobiles are active in Columbia and surrounding areas every day, but a new donation center in Lexington will open in the early part of 2021.
"The easiest thing is to click on the donate now button, and put in thecity, state, zip code on our website," said Van Dyke.
Donors can find more information and search for drives or donor centers by location at thebloodconnection.org.or call Kimberely Bagley, 864.346.1794.