MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The month of January kicks off National Blood Donor Month.
In the Grand Strand and Pee Dee, the American Red Cross has blood drive locations to donate Monday through Friday
The American Red Cross in South Carolina needs 200 units of blood every day to make sure there’s enough on hospital shelves.
One donation has the potential to save up to three lives.
“If you have ever had a family member, friend, who’s been in the hospital and needed blood, you know it is important and you can truly be that life saver,” said Amy Brauner, the executive director of the Eastern SC American Red Cross.
Through the American Red Cross, people can track the journey of where their blood is going using the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
While donating, COVID-19 safety precautions are in place, including masks and temperature checks. The process to donate blood takes about an hour.
The American Red Cross is also throwing in a perk. All month long people will be entered for a chance to win two tickets to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles in 2022 if they donate blood.
Not only is the American Red Cross in need of blood, but also a certain type of plasma to help COVID-19 patients.
Every person who donates blood will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies, and the American Red Cross will share results within seven days. If results show positive antibodies, or if someone knows they have positive antibodies, they can help current COVID-19 patients.
The American Red Cross is in critical need of convalescent plasma donors.
The National Institutes of Health said convalescent plasma is blood plasma taken from people who’ve recovered from COVID-19.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment to COVID-19 yet, but it’s regulated as an investigational product, according to the FDA.
American Red Cross is accepting the plasma with eligibility requirements. One has to have a verified diagnosis of COVID-19 but is now symptom free. Plus, they must be at least 17 years old and weigh 110 pounds.
“If your blood has positive antibodies, your blood will automatically be coded to help those suffering from COVID and the plasma will be used immediately to help these patients,” Brauner said. “If you would like to donate just convalescent plasma, the process takes about an hour and a half and can help save up to four people.
People can donate blood or convalescent plasma by signing up here.