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TBC Joins Jordan’s Journey

Jordan’s Journey: #jj33strong

In June, 15-year-old Jordan Freeman was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Because blood transfusions are an important part of her treatments, Jordan’s father, Mark Freeman, has led the charge to host blood drives in the area since Jordan’s diagnosis. Mark is is a Spartanburg County Deputy and well known in the community. The hashtag above has been the symbol of Jordan’s fight against the disease.

As her father explained on Facebook about the diagnosis: “She has been put on a 21 day cycle of treatment, days 1-3 is spent in the hospital receiving Chemo meds through an IV Port she had surgically implanted, on days 4-7 she will be at home taking oral meds, on day 8 she will have to go back to the Hospital for additional meds to be given through her port, on days 9-21 she will be home again taking oral meds, then it will start again for 5 cycles, 3 days in the hospital, home, 1 day at the hospital, 7 days at home, etc…We want to thank everyone for their outpouring of love and support, and appreciate all the support we have already received.”

Through the TBC Donor Benefit Plan, donors who gave blood during the “Jordan’s Journey” blood drives will be giving back to Jordan’s recovery by replenishing the local blood supply. Those blood donations will also help Jordan’s family pay for her treatments. At the latest collective blood drive in Jordan’s honor, the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, and Fox Carolina teamed up. Those blood drives collected 70 donations, enough to help save the lives of more than 200 people, just like Jordan!

Jordan’s unexpected diagnosis is an example of how blood products need to be available at any time, for any patient. That means community donors must give on a regular basis. When Jordan needed blood products, they were available because donors knew it was worth the time to donate blood. TBC is asking the rest of the community to do the same for Jordan and other hospital patients like her in the Upstate.

Find a blood drive near you today. Click here to learn more about the Donor Benefit Plan. To follow along with Jordan Journey, like her Facebook page.

Behind the Scenes of TBCTV

Behind the Scenes of TBCTV

Introducing TBCTV

The Blood Connection is really excited to roll out our newest video project: TBCTV! Coming soon to all locations, TBCTV is a combination of entertaining and educational videos for donors and visitors to watch while they’re in a center or on a mobile.
 
Over the years, we’ve found that our strongest message comes through the stories of our donors and blood recipients. TBCTV is an accumulation of many years of hearing those stories and figuring out the best ways to share them. TBCTV viewers will not only hear touching stories, but they’ll also learn important facts about blood donation and why it’s so vital that community donors give on a regular basis. The segments will also let donors know about upcoming promotions and events. Of course, our mission of saving local lives is the focus.
 
As we mentioned, viewers will hear the stories of several community members, a few we want to highlight here: Emma, Kristen, Temoor, Shantrell, and Kenneth.
 
Emma Jana from Greenville, SC is a wife and mother of an adorable 1 year old named Liam. Blood donors saved her life after she was in a terrible car accident at the age of 16.
 
Temoor Dard from Cary, NC is a graduating high school senior and soon to be UNC-Chapel Hill freshman whose grandfather needed blood transfusions during heart surgery. He’s been hosting blood drives since he was 14 years old, even though the school system doesn’t allow in-school blood drives.
 
Shantrell Vereen from Piedmont, SC is a father of two daughters and a sickle cell patient, which is a hereditary blood disease. That means he needs 8 donors every 3 weeks to live his life comfortably.
 
Kenneth Greene is a loyal O-Negative blood donor at the Asheville center. He gives because his dad was diagnosed with a blood disorder that required many transfusions at the end of his life.
 
Kristen Odom from Taylors, SC is a wife and mother of a very active (and very cute) 2 year old, Caroline. Blood donors saved her life after she had labor delivery complications in 2017.
 
Every single one of these stories showcases a different need in our communities, combining to create a powerful story of neighbors coming together to save lives through TBC. And there are many more stories where those came from. There are many more stories like these, of survival, victory, and love. Our team is not done telling them. TBCTV will continue to grow and expand for many years to come. A special thanks to our partners at 9/8 Central in Greenville, SC for helping us tell these stories in the best way.
 

“You never know when you or your family will need it. You never know who you’re gonna be helping out…it’s the right thing to do.”  -Kenneth Greene

If you’d like to tell us your story or have any suggestions for TBCTV, email us at marketing@thebloodconnection.org. We want to know your thoughts! To watch some of the full stories, head to our YouTube page.

“I’ve been given my life back:” Kristen Odom’s Story

“I’ve been given my life back:” Kristen Odom’s Story

Because 25 Blood Donors Gave Her Life

You can tell from her smile that Kristen Odom is full of joy. Just talk to her for 30 seconds, and you’ll find that joy stems from her overwhelming gratitude. She’s happily married with an adorable 2-year-old, Caroline, and loves her job teaching at a local school. Sure, that’s a lot to be thankful for…no wonder she’s so happy!

But talk to her a little bit longer, and it’s clear there’s a reason for that abundant thankfulness. Almost 2 years ago, Odom had complications after her daughter’s delivery. Odom was only able to hold her beautiful newborn baby for several minutes, before she started feeling dizzy. Seconds later, she was whisked away to an operating room with no explanation.

“Everything was super easy, non dramatic, up until it was not.”

Turns out, Odom had been bleeding internally for a while. She had lost a lot of blood. After racing her to the operating room, doctors at St. Francis Eastside immediately started blood transfusions to save her life. All in all, she received more than 25 units of red cells, platelets, and plasma. Those products came from donors with The Blood Connection, the primary blood supplier for the St. Francis-Bon Secours hospital system.

Odom’s husband and brand new dad waited for hours for a head nod from doctors that she was ok. Finally, four hours later…some good news. Doctors had found the source of the bleed and were able to completely replenish Odom’s body with blood products. Once the shock of everything wore off, both Odom and her husband realized that local blood donors had saved her life.

“I would not be here today if that [blood products] wasn’t there…I know that it was because about 25 people donated blood, it saved my life,” said Odom. “I needed so much of it…it was there because there was enough…I’ve been given my life back.”

So yes, Odom and her husband, Brent, are the stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of couple. They understand true gratitude because it lives and breathes in the form of their daughter.

“I often think about it in the little things like we celebrate her birthday, it’s a pretty day outside, or we’re at the beach…this day I get to enjoy because somebody donated blood. I had this overwhelming sense of gratitude…it just still shocks me to this day…here we are, living a completely normal life…because blood was available and they did what they needed to do right away.”

Watching Caroline grow up (too fast) reminds Brent Odom of the moment he thought he might have to raise her alone.

“I remember sitting in the NICU with Caroline that evening…and just remember praying, Lord, I can’t do this alone, so I’m just so thankful that she’s [his wife] here today, because of donors.”

As an O-Negative donor, Brent is now committed to donating blood every time he’s eligible, every 56 days. It’s his way of paying it forward.

Now the Odoms are using their story of survival to spread the message about blood donation. They’re reminded of it when they’re chasing little Caroline around in their quaint Taylors, SC neighborhood or singing Caroline’s favorite song, “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round,” over and over again. That contagious song may never get out of their heads, and neither will their appreciation for every local blood donor.

Blood donors have the chance to do what others did for the Odoms, every day. Step on a donation bus or into a TBC center and that opportunity awaits.

TBC is here to answer any questions about donating blood. Click here to find a list of center locations and here for a list of upcoming blood drives in the Upstate. To those who already donate, thank you for spreading the love throughout your community! We hope you enjoy a peek into the life of the Odom family below.

Honoring Trooper Eric Nicholson

Honoring Trooper Eric Nicholson

Honoring a Local Hero 

On December 6th, 2000, South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Nicholson was shot and killed in Greenville after trying to pull over a robbery suspect. Nicholson was a Marine, husband, and loyal servant to his community. Coincidentally, one of his last acts of kindness was donating blood. He donated about an hour before he was killed with his wife, Misty. Since his death, she has been passionate about spreading the message of blood donation throughout the community. Blood drives in honor of Nicholson started in 2002 and have saved up to 6,000 lives. The Blood Connection is now dedicating its newest mobile donation bus to Nicholson, naming it “Eric.”   

Trooper Nicholson’s death was a big shock to the community. This event not only recognizes a community hero, but also shines a light on the risk and sacrifice that local law enforcement officers face every day.

Donate Blood in Nicholson’s Honor

The new mobile, “Eric,” opened to the public after the dedication ceremony on Friday, July 26th. The bus was officially named in the same parking lot where Nicholson was killed almost 20 years ago. Although the sacrifice of a blood donor comes no where near Nicholson’s sacrifice, the sentiment to give back to the community is similar. At the Nicholson blood drive, TBC saw 49 people and collected 45 units of blood. That has the power to save up to 135 lives in the Upstate community! Those donors honored Nicholson and continued his legacy by donating blood.

The demand for blood never stops. That’s why our local blood donors are essential to saving lives. Be the difference for someone in your community, while saying thank you to those who serve and protect.

Retired U.S. Navy Man Donates 400+ Times

Retired U.S. Navy Man Donates 400+ Times

A Lifetime of Service 

86-year-old Harvey Spencer has spent his entire life serving his community. His service started when he joined the Navy in the 1950s for the Korean War. During a tumultuous time in U.S. history, Spencer stepped up. And he’s continued to do so. Now retired from the Navy, he’s donated blood more than 400 times, saving lives in a different way.
 
Among the many things that Spencer learned after joining the Navy is the importance of donating blood. Because of the war, there was an urgent need for blood. When asked to give, he did. After traveling the world with the Navy for many years, he retired about 20 years ago, when he began donating blood locally.
 
Noticing that he was a frequent donor, a long-time TBC employee asked Spencer to donate platelets. In true Spencer fashion, he said yes, wanting to do anything to help. A local girl in need of platelets also motivated him to learn more about platelet donation.
 
The rest…is history. Spencer now donates platelets twice a month at the Seneca Donation Center. He says he loves the fellowship and the staff who take good care of him; a true compliment from someone who knows the deep impact of true camaraderie.
 
The vivid images of his fellow military members at war remind Spencer of the importance of donating. He has this simple, Nike-esque quote for anyone who hasn’t donated before.

“Just do it.”

To Spencer, it’s that easy. You too could be a loyal donor like Spencer. Whatever your reason, local hospital patients need your donation. TBC is thankful that Spencer chose TBC to be the place where he continues his community service. With more than 400 donations, he’s saved hundreds of lives. Thank you Harvey Spencer, a hero inside and out!