MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Blood donations have seen a boost in the last several days, according to The Blood Connection.
The organization has seen “an outpouring of support from the community” since a school shooting killed 19 children and two teachers last week in Uvalde, Texas,” according to a spokesperson.
“It seems like people want to help their community by donating blood after seeing what happened in Texas,” Mercy Myers, partnerships and media coordinator for The Blood Connection, told News13.
Compared to the same time last year, donations are up. Myers said that the organization, headquartered in Piedmont, was close to rationing blood due to a low supply last year.
“Unfortunately, this spike will dissipate soon and we will need blood donors to stay consistent through the summer months,” Myers said.
She noted that The Blood Connection will still have an urgent need for universal Type O-negative donors.
Type O-negative blood is commonly used for trauma patients whose blood type is not immediately known, according to the American Red Cross.
Along with helping trauma patients and those undergoing surgery, blood donations are also used for cancer patients and those with sickle cell anemia.
However, despite the boost, blood donations typically drop during the summer months, when vacations lead to fewer blood drives and donations. Donations typically decrease during the winter holidays, as well.
While the American Red Cross typically doesn’t serve hospitals in the Uvalde area, it “stands ready to provide blood and blood products as needed in response to this tragedy,” according to an announcement from the organization.
“Volunteer blood donors are needed each and every day to help save lives,” the announcement reads. “This tragedy illustrates that it is the blood already on the shelves that helps during an emergency.”
Myrtle Beach-area hospitals have already seen an increase in trauma patients, even before the “100 deadliest days” for car crashes began on Memorial Day.
Grand Strand Medical Center reached a record high for trauma patients in May, which leaders attributed to more bikers and travelers being in the area. The hospital saw 174 trauma patients from May 12 to May 22 alone — the same time as the Myrtle Beach Bike Week Spring Rally. Most of the vehicle crashes that sent patients to the hospital involved speed, excessive alcohol consumption or substance abuse.
That number was a 37% increase in trauma patients compared to 2019, according to the hospital.
Conway Medical Center sees donations drop when the need for blood increases in the summer, according to a spokesperson.
“Blood is truly the lifeline of what we do here at CMA,” Dr. Paul Richardson, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said in a written statement to News13. “It is vital for us to have a steady supply of blood and blood products on the shelves.”
Car crash victims, for example, can need varying amounts of blood.
“We ask you to give the gift of life and donate blood,” Richardson said.
Upcoming blood donation drives for the American Red Cross and The Blood Connection can be found online. Tidelands Health also has blood drives scheduled in June at its locations in Murrells Inlet, Georgetown and Pawleys Island.