MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - An inaugural holiday blood drive went on Tuesday at Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach. If you can, you're asked to roll up your sleeve and give blood or platelets this holiday season to help lessen the shortage.
The American Red Cross blood drive was in partnership with iHeartRadio and Ripley's Aquarium. Those who gave blood received free admission into the aquarium and a t-shirt Tuesday.
Red Cross representative Meg Heath said South Carolina needs 500 units of blood every day to function. She was hoping for around 60 units Tuesday, especially with the schools out for the holidays.
"Churches and school are out, and that's our main source of blood...so we really wanted to partner with someone to get the word out. Really encourage people to come out and donate if they can, so they were a perfect outlet for us to do this with," Heath said.
Surprisingly, high school and college-aged students make up the biggest percentage of donors, she said.
"Blood never takes a vacation. We all see the accidents on 501. So, you know, our donations do tend to decline a bit this time of year. So we do encourage everyone to come out and donate," Heath said.
David Loughlin spoke with WMBF News as he was giving platelets. He said it's worth possibly saving a life. "You just don't know...when you're going to need blood...you're going to need somebody....it's easy to donate and it really doesn't take much time to do," he said. He's a regular donor from Myrtle Beach.
Heath said the north is especially experiencing blood shortages because of the winter storms.
If you want to give blood, you can find out locations, drives and more information from the American Red Cross website.