Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Families of Highway Fatalities host statewide blood drive in memory of collision victims

In South Carolina, about 800 lives are claimed each year by traffic collisions. Families of Highway Fatalities and the American Red Cross are asking South Carolinians to remember those individuals lost on South Carolina highways by giving the gift of life this holiday season, at a time when blood donations are especially important.

Donors can give blood from Monday, Dec. 28 to Thursday, Dec. 31 at five Red Cross donation centers in Charleston (Mount Pleasant and West Ashley), Columbia, Florence and Myrtle Beach. As a thank you for their donation, presenting donors will receive a long-sleeve Red Cross commemorative T-shirt, while supplies last.

“Families of Highway Fatalities, an organization dedicated to providing resources for families who have lost loved ones in traffic collisions, has partnered with the Red Cross on blood drives for several years,” said Phil Riley, Director of  the SCDPS Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs. “The blood drives offer members an opportunity to remember their loved ones, while also raising awareness of the need for blood donations.”

The period between Christmas and New Year’s Day is an especially critical time for the Red Cross, as holiday festivities and travel can keep donors from giving blood. But the need for blood is constant. Trauma patients, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood. There is no substitute for blood, and volunteer donors are the only source.

Traci Wolfe of Chapin will honor her son, Kenny, through the blood drive. Kenny died in 2007 at age 18 in a motor vehicle collision. Kenny, who loved fishing and sports of every kind, had a huge heart for others, his mother said. The family keeps his memory alive through the Kenny Wolfe Foundation, which raises awareness about teen fatalities in collisions, and by encouraging others to give blood in his name.

“By giving blood in Kenny’s memory, it’s almost like Kenny is still here and still sharing,” Traci said.

Donors can make appointments to give blood and platelets at five locations:

2751 Bull St., Columbia

1555 W. Palmetto St., Florence

920 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Mount Pleasant

3681 Renee Drive, Unit #4, Myrtle Beach

2000 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., Charleston

To make an appointment and for more information, download the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To learn more about the Families of Highway Fatalities, visit http://www.scdps.gov/fhf.

Items and offers are nontransferable and are not redeemable for cash.

How to donate blood
To make an appointment, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can use RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or laptop. Visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass to get started.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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