Lyman teen and pageant queen shines as blood drive host and donor

Lyman teen and pageant queen shines as blood drive host and donor

Hailey Greer shines on and off the pageant stage 

Miss River City Teen turns passion for blood donation into platform, donates blood for the first time on her 16th birthday

16-year-old Hailey Greer spent her sweet sixteen at the Blood Connection Donation Center in Spartanburg, giving back to her community. It’s not what you might expect from a high-schooler, but it’s no surprise for those who know Hailey. Some know her as the current Miss River City Teen or former Miss Powdersville. With a few pageant wins under her belt, she’s now in the running to become Miss South Carolina Teen, where a lot more people with get to know her and what she stands for. Hailey is using her contagious smile to spread the word about blood donation, making it her personal platform for Miss South Carolina.

Hailey started hosting drives when she was just a freshman at Byrnes High School. Her mother’s touching story is what drives Hailey to tell others about the life-saving power of blood donation. Her mother lost about half of her blood volume after Hailey was born. Since Hailey knows blood donations saved her mother’s life, she wants to help do that for others in her community. And when she started asking questions to her friends and family, she realized a lot of people around her have needed blood too. Doing her own research about blood transfusions fueled the fire, and she began encouraging her friends to donate at school. 

“Just telling them [students] how much their blood can help somebody is normally what does it for them. And by giving blood, they feel like they have a purpose.”

Hailey has hosted almost 10 blood drives (and counting) with The Blood Connection, starting way before she was old enough to donate blood herself. Hailey donated for the first time with TBC at the Spartanburg Center on her birthday on May 19th, surrounded by her friends and family. She’s now in the club of local lifesavers!

TBC is grateful for Hailey’s selfless dedication to her community and passion to serve as a blood drive host. She is truly an inspiration, juggling her school work, dance team practices, preparation for pageants, and learning how to drive, yet still making time to serve her community. Making connections in the community is what TBC is all about. Hailey is the perfect example of a caring connector, who has not only affected the lives of many local blood recipients but their families too. Soon she’ll be able to add “lifesaver” next to the long list of her titles. TBC wishes Hailey the best of luck at the Miss SC Teen pageant! 

WYFF Channel 4 shared Hailey’s beautiful story as part of its Project CommUNITY series. Check it out!

The Spartanburg Donation Center is located at 270 N Grove Medical Park Dr. It’s open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m on the weekends. Blood donors must be healthy, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be 17 years old or 16 with written parental consent. Photo ID required. To reduce donation time, donors can make an appointment in advance.

Check out the TBC High School Program, which awards students like Hailey who are impacting their communities through blood donation and hosting blood drives.

Educate Yourself: Sickle Cell Disease

Educate Yourself: Sickle Cell Disease

More about Sickle Cell Disease 

Sickle Cell Disease has many faces. They’re probably ones you see every day. When you give blood, you’re helping someone live another day. That person may have Sickle Cell Disease, a sometimes painful disease that affects oxygen levels in the blood, causing major health problems. In addition to donating blood, educating yourself about SCD could help save someone’s life too.

The Stats

  • SCD is the most common inherited disease.
  • It affects 100,000 Americans a year
  • It affects millions of people worldwide who come from or have ancestors from the Middle East, parts of Africa, South America, Mexico, and India.
  • Hispanics are the second largest population that has SCD, behind African Americans. 
  • 500 people who live and work in Upstate South Carolina are affected with SCD. 

Those stats may surprise you. That’s why it’s especially important to know about the disease and share what you know. The CDC provides this explanation for what happens in patients with Sickle Cell Disease: “Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone who has SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke.”

With that being said, sickle cells carry less oxygen and block blood vessels. A blood donation from someone without the disease, can be used to increase oxygen and free blocked blood vessels in a SCD patient. Red blood cells donated by African Americans are the best for SDC patients. Because SCD patients need blood with (and without) specific components, there is a constant need for African American donors. Patients require blood transfusions to prevent organ damage and to decrease pain. Pain is the number one reason SCD patients end up in the hospital. Unfortunately, there is no single best treatment for SCD. Treatment options are different for each person depending on the symptoms. Treatments can include receiving blood transfusions, maintaining a high fluid intake (drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water each day), receiving IV therapy (fluids given into a vein) and medications to help with pain.

Having SCD makes the patient anemic, a fancy word meaning red blood cells die early and not enough are left to carry oxygen throughout the body. Having anemia may make patients feel tired and weak. Infection or enlargement of the spleen, an organ that stores red blood cells, may make anemia worse. Blood transfusions are used to treat severe anemia.

A child gets SCD when he or she receives two sickle cell genes, one from each parent. According to the CDC, more than 95% of newborns with SCD in the U.S. will live to be adults. All newborns should be screened for sickle cell, even if they look healthy. If left undetected and untreated, SCD can lead to severe health problems and even death, early in childhood. People with SCD, especially infants and children, are more likely to experience harmful infections such as flu, meningitis, and hepatitis.

Get tested

It’s important to get tested for SCD. The disease is diagnosed with a simple blood test. Trait testing is free of charge through the Louvenia D. Barksdale Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation (barksdalesicklecell.org). Greenville Healthcare System’s Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program is the first in the Upstate region to provide care for sickle cell patients of all ages under the same roof.

People with sickle cell can do these things to lower their chance of difficulties from the disease:
–  Get regular checkups with their doctor.
–  Follow treatments prescribed by their doctor, such as taking medication called hydroxyurea.
–  Prevent infections by taking simple steps including washing their hands.
–  Practice healthy habits like drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water per day and eating healthy food.

Is there a cure?

Yes, but the procedure can be risky. Permanent treatment requires a bone marrow transplant, or stem cell transplant, a procedure that takes healthy stem cells from a donor and puts them into someone whose bone marrow is not working properly. These healthy stem cells cause the bone marrow to make new healthy cells. Bone marrow or stem cell transplants are very risky, and can have serious side effects, including death. For the transplant to work, the bone marrow must be a close match, which can be hard to find.

How you can help

Reading through this article, you’ve already helped by learning about SCD. People in our community need us. If you’re able to donate blood, especially if you’re American American, please do so as soon as possible. You can specifically donate Red Blood cells at a Blood Connection Donation Center as well (addresses are on our website). SCD patients are waiting for the right blood products to be treated. TBC helps make the connection between that patient and a blood donor, providing life-saving blood. Because SCD is genetic, there is nothing that can be done to prevent it. As a community, we can help control SCD patients’ symptoms, so they’re not defined by their disease. For the many people who have SCD, that’s a powerful, freeing feeling.