The Blood Connection Provides Free COVID-19 Antibody Testing to All Blood Donors

GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA (May 11, 2020) – The Blood Connection (TBC), a local non-profit, community blood center is offering COVID-19 antibody testing to all donors at no cost, beginning Monday, May 11.  The test, which will provide blood donors with a positive or negative result, will be included in the normal panel of testing that is done to all blood that is collected by the organization.

“After an overwhelming, positive response from our donors through a poll, The Blood Connection is proud to offer this test to our donors at no cost,” said Delisa English, President & CEO of TBC.

TBC wants to ensure that all donors are aware that this is not a diagnostic test for COVID-19 infection.  The FDA and the CDC have both said that a positive antibody test result does not prove the individual has immunity to the virus and that research of the antibodies is still being conducted.

“We are providing this test as a service to our donors. As a respiratory virus, there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission through blood donation or transfusion,” says Dr. Robert Rainer, Medical Director for TBC.

TBC will be offering this testing to donors at all donation centers and blood mobiles.  Although this is being made available to all donors, anyone may opt out of the testing within 24 hours of donation. Once the individual has donated with TBC, the organization will make results available to the donor within 7 business days by means of electronic portal.  This testing is only available to blood donors and a complete donation must be made in order to be tested.  Individual testing is not available to those who are unwilling or unable to donate.

All donors must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible to donate.  Donors must be 17 years of age or older, weight at least 110 pounds and be feeling healthy and well in order to donate. People who are 16 years old may donate with a parental consent form.  

If donors would like to have the COVID-19 Antibody Test, they are encouraged to make an appointment to donate blood with The Blood Connection, find a drive nearest them. If anyone would like to host a blood drive in their community, business, church, etc. please contact The Blood Connection.

Convalescent Plasma Collected in the Carolinas

Convalescent Plasma Collected in the Carolinas

Local Blood Center Urges Recovered COVID-19 Patients to Donate Now

GREENVILLE, SC – The Blood Connection (TBC) has announced that it is collecting donations from recovered COVID-19 patients to help with research and clinical trials.  The blood product, known as convalescent plasma, may have antibodies that can help those critically ill from COVID-19 to fight the virus. 

In a recent release the CEO of America’s Blood Centers, Kate Fry said, “This promising investigational product must get to patients without delay, and blood centers across the country have mobilized in response.” The organization represents nearly 50 not-for-profit blood centers throughout the United States who collect close to 60 percent of the nation’s blood supply.

The Blood Connection is offering this procedure at all of their blood donation centers across South Carolina and North Carolina and are urging those who are interested, to make an appointment 28 days after they are fully recovered from the virus.  Donors must have dated, written documentation of their positive test results and must make an appointment with the organization.

“In this time of uncertainty, many are looking for a way to help their fellow citizens.  Blood donation is a wonderful way to give back and this convalescent plasma program is another way to help save lives in your community,” said Delisa English, CEO and President of The Blood Connection.  “If you have recovered from COVID-19, please consider donating plasma to help with the research that will help others to fight this virus.”

If you are interested in donating convalescent plasma, please make an appointment at a center near you by calling The Blood Connection at (864)751-1168.


COVID-19 Concerns Could Lead to Blood Shortages

Blood Drive Cancellations and Low Donor Turnout, Community Urged to Donate

UPDATE (as of March 10, 2020): Concerns about COVID-19 (coronavirus) are negatively impacting blood donations. Blood centers across the nation are pleading for anyone who is feeling healthy to do their part and donate. For a few weeks now, The Blood Connection (TBC) has seen an increase in blood drive cancellations and low donor turnout due to the fears surrounding the virus that has been heavily covered in the news. TBC and other blood centers nationwide are concerned that this could lead to blood shortages, which could impact local hospitals.

“The impacts on the blood supply from COVID-19 will only be as bad as this community allows it to be,” said Dr. Robert Rainer, Medical Director for The Blood Connection. “If those who are feeling healthy donate now and encourage others to do the same, there could be little to no impact, and communities’ blood supplies will remain resilient and self-sustaining.”

TBC ensures that all donors are healthy through wellness screenings prior to their donation and the organization is taking extra precautionary measures to ensure that all donor centers and mobiles are clean and safe places to donate blood. In addition, TBC has an internal incident command team that monitors collection and inventory levels and meets to discuss and prepare for different scenarios regarding COVID-19. 

“Now is the time to do something heroic for your community,” said Delisa English, President and CEO of The Blood Connection. “Please donate blood today.”

If you are interested in hosting a blood drive in your community or to make an appointment, please visit thebloodconnection.org or call 864-255-5000.

Local Blood Center Gives Community New Way to Save Lives

Local Blood Center Gives Community New Way to Save Lives

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Blood Connection (TBC), a Greenville, S.C. based community blood center, will officially open its donation center in North Charleston on February 27, 2020. Festivities will begin at 3:30 p.m., with a ribbon cutting ceremony beginning at 4:00 p.m. 

The newly renovated, multi-purpose 15,000 square foot donation center will include a spacious waiting area, screening rooms, 10-bed donor room and refreshment area, all equipped with brand new equipment and furniture. It will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m.-5 p.m. on the weekends. Donors can walk in or make an appointment online or by phone any day of the week. In addition to a donation center, the building will also serve as a blood distribution hub and reference lab, which will help TBC distribute blood donations more efficiently to its hospital partners in the Charleston area. Blood mobiles will be housed and prepared for community blood drives at the center as well. 

Because of specialized equipment not available on a blood mobile, the donation center will give donors a unique opportunity to take their blood donation to the next level by donating platelets, plasma, and red cells. These direct donations, called “apheresis,” help local hospital patients in specific ways. For example, platelets are commonly used to treat cancer patients. Donors can learn which donation is best for them based on their blood type. Before the Charleston center, donating whole blood on a mobile was the only option for donors. TBC’s ability to offer all donation options at the center will ultimately provide hospital partners with essential blood products for certain treatments and transfusions.

TBC’s presence in the Lowcountry has spread rapidly within the last year, after TBC became the exclusive blood provider for Roper St. Francis Healthcare in January 2019. TBC has doubled its mobile units since then and has increased donor collection opportunities to serve the Lowcountry. TBC now spans 12 coastal counties, providing blood products to 11 local hospitals in the area.

“The Lowcountry community has embraced us and we are so thankful to the donors who have joined us on our blood mobiles,” said TBC President and CEO, Delisa K. English. “Now donors have a beautiful, spacious blood center to enjoy while they help save the lives of their neighbors. We’re proud to be local and to serve this community through our hospital partners. This center opening is just the beginning of making Charleston our home.”

TBC has been a non-profit 501(c)(3) community blood center since 1962 and is the exclusive provider for the entire Upstate of South Carolina and a large portion of North Carolina. While blood collections are a big part of what TBC does, it is also a full-service blood center, which includes testing, manufacturing, distribution and reference lab services. As a single-focused operation, the community blood center is able to commit all of its resources to collecting and testing blood products in order to transport them to local hospitals quickly. TBC’s priority is to keep donated blood products in the communities it serves.


The Blood Connection Offers Free Therapeutic Phlebotomy

The Blood Connection Offers Free Therapeutic Phlebotomy

Patients can visit the Charleston Donation Center any day of week

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Blood Connection (TBC), your community blood center, is proud to serve the Charleston community through free therapeutic phlebotomy. This service is free for patients diagnosed with hemochromatosis or iron dysfunction including those taking testosterone supplements. TBC is the only organization to provide this service at no cost to patients in the Lowcountry.

On average, a therapeutic phlebotomy treatment costs around $80 per visit. In some instances, a treatment can cost more than $100 if done at a hospital. When a patient is referred to TBC and meets the requirements, there is no cost whatsoever to the patient, while other blood centers in the area charge a fee. Because patients typically need multiple treatments, this is a costly burden that TBC is offering to cover.

TBC’s mission is to provide a safe and uninterrupted blood supply through volunteer blood donations. Within that service to the community is treatment for those with certain blood disorders. Therapeutic patients in need of treatment can visit the recently opened TBC Charleston Donation Center in North Charleston at 5870 Core Road any day of the week. The center is open 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. on weekdays and 7 A.M. to 5 P.M. on weekends.

Patients must make an appointment and have a physician’s order before coming in for treatment. The physicians order form can be found online at thebloodconnection.org/therapeutic-phlebotomy. TBC is asking the community to help make patients aware of this free service and to also send this information to hematologists in the area.

For more information about therapeutic phlebotomy, please visit thebloodconnection.org/therapeutic-services.