New agency to supply blood to area


Staff Writer

Monday, January 14, 2019

A South Carolina organization is now supplying blood products to both hospitals in the Twin Counties and is seeking donors and blood drive hosts in the area.

The Blood Connection, based in Greenvile, S.C., began serving Nash UNC Health Care in Rocky Mount on Jan. 1. The announcement further solidifies a partnership between UNC Health Care and The Blood Connection that began in 2018 when the company merged with Raleigh-based Rex Blood Services, according to a press release from the company.

Brad Weisner, chief operating officer of Nash UNC Health Care, said the change in supplier will benefit patients..

“The Blood Connection is a highly regarded supplier of blood products in an increasing number of communities. Through our partnership with UNC Health Care, we are able to leverage the relationship between The Blood Connection and our health care system to meet the needs of our patients and ensure they receive safe, high-quality and cost-effective blood supplies,” Weisner said.

In addition to the UNC Health agreement, The Blood Connection, also known as TBC, became the primary blood supplier to all of Vidant Health hospitals on Oct. 1, 2018, including Vidant Edgecombe Hospital in Tarboro.

The Blood Connection is the largest independently managed, nonprofit community blood center in the region and is licensed and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Founded as Greenville Blood Assurance in 1962, TBC is now responsible for providing a safe and sustainable blood supply to more than 75 hospitals in over 50 counties throughout the Carolinas and Georgia.

“We are honored to be able to support the health of people in this region, and we are grateful for each new opportunity to connect donors with recipients,” Delisa K. English, president and CEO of TBC said in the release.

English said TBC will be asking for the cooperation of area residents in donating blood to help meet the needs of patients. According to the organization’s website, O positive blood is especially needed at this time

“We want eastern North Carolina to join us by donating blood that will serve friends, family and neighbors,” English said. “From the victim of a car crash to the cancer patient who depends on platelets, the need for volunteer blood donations is great. When you give blood with The Blood Connection, you are ensuring that the people of this community will have the blood products available to save their lives.”

The Blood Connection is currently expanding its donor collection opportunities in eastern North Carolina.

“We're looking forward to working with blood donors in this region,” English said. "This is an opportunity to serve more people, help more patients and save more lives. We’re hiring employees and recruiting donors from the local community. Please watch for our signature red blood mobile units and listen for a call from our donor recruiters.”

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a life-saving blood transfusion, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood and platelets, the release said. Maintaining an adequate blood supply requires a delicate balancing effort that monitors available supply versus expected demand.

Donated blood must be constantly replenished because it has a limited shelf life. Community blood banks focus on fulfilling the blood supply needs of a single region.

People who want to donate blood or host a blood drive in the area can visit thebloodconnection.org or call 864-751-3019 for more information.