5736046.jpgFort Jackson hosts a Community Blood Drive Aug. 25 at the Solomon Center. ‘Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person – the gift of life,’ said William Sexton, Fort Jackson’s Red Cross Blood Drive leader. (U.S. Navy photo by Zachary Melvin)

By Robert Timmons                                                                                                                                                                                             Fort Jackson Public Affairs

“Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person – the gift of life,” said William Sexton, Fort Jackson fire inspector and Fort Jackson’s American Red Cross Blood Drive Leader. “One donation can save up to three lives.”

Fort Jackson and the American Red Cross are hosting a Community Blood Drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 25 in the Solomon Center.

Blood is needed every two seconds since one in seven people going to a hospital will need blood, Sexton added.

A blood donation can save a life, or even several lives, Sexton added. The donation can be used for multiple patients with various conditions when separated into its components – red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Plasma can also be effective in helping treat COVID-19.

Blood is always is need, he added, and can’t be created.

“Blood is always needed for the treatment of accident victims, cancer patients, hemophiliacs and surgery patients,” Sexton said emphatically. “It can't be manufactured.”

Those willing to donate should visit redcrossblood.org and read upon on donor eligibilities and find blood drives, get answers to questions and make an appointment to donate.

“I would highly recommend downloading the Red Cross blood app,” Sexton said. “It's a great little app that lets you schedule appointments, track where your blood goes to help someone and to get test results.” This includes the COVID-19 antibodies test that the blood donations are tested for.

According the Red Cross roughly 36,000 units of red blood cells, 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed every day in the U.S., while roughly 21 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.

Not everyone can donate, and those who do can donate blood every 56 days, so it's always best to schedule an appointment to decrease wait times and ensure you will be able to donate on the date and time that you would like, Sexton said.

Lastly, never count yourself out, a lot of people think they are unable to donate, but the requirements, which are set by the Food and Drug Administration, can change often.

Recently, personnel who were stationed in Germany during Creutzfeldt-Jakob "Mad Cow" disease era had their deferments lifted and are now eligible to donate again.

Are you looking to donate blood but aren't sure you are eligible? If so, contact the Red Cross Donor and Client Support Center at (866) 236-3276.

There are two blood drives that take place on Fort Jackson – The American Red Cross and the Armed Forces Blood Program. The AFBP collects blood that aids service members at various blood banks around the world, while community blood drives help all people in the community where the donation was given and can be transferred to an area where an urgent need is present.

To schedule your appointment please visit www.redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: FortJackson. All donations are testing for COVID antibodies. For more information call (803) 605-3162.