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Owen has heart issues and two rare diseases that make his treatment incredibly complicated. At just 17 months old, he had been admitted to the hospital eight times, had two open-heart surgeries and a piece of his lung removed. Blood transfusions helped save his life.

A single blood donation can give as many as three patients in local hospitals the chance to spend the holidays at home with their loved ones.

This year, as we continue to fight the pandemic, the need is doubled. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center needs 800-1000 blood donations a day as well as people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate convalescent plasma.

Many companies are operating virtually, making blood drives difficult to plan.  And blood donation appointments are needed now as people begin to plan their vacations. This year, thousands of blood drives canceled amid the pandemic, affecting local donations. These cancellations are continuing into December as the community has seen a spike in coronavirus cases. We urge community organizations and business leaders to host blood drives to provide donors a convenient location to donate their blood. 

Blood cannot be manufactured. Healthy donors must voluntarily contribute to our blood supply.

Additionally, all blood donations are tested for the COVID-19 antibody, and donors who test positive will be invited to return to give convalescent plasma. Antibodies present in the plasma of those who have recovered from the virus may help patients with severe symptoms fight the infection. Since September, there’s been 101% increase in convalescent plasma shipments to hospitals and the need continues to grow.  

The Blood Center takes safety seriously, not only for donors but for staff.

Current protocols include:

  • Sanitizing hands and changing gloves between donors
  • Replacing reusable items with one-time use items
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols for all surfaces between each blood donor
  • Implementing a daily wellness survey and checking staff temperatures when they report to work
  • Requiring face coverings for donors and employees

Every week, thousands of patients need blood to survive. Many cancer patients need platelets while they’re undergoing chemotherapy. Others with blood diseases need transfusions regularly, and blood also is vital during surgeries and trauma patients. Members of our community must donate consistently to maintain the blood supply.

Those who are feeling healthy and well should check for an available appointment. Blood donations are needed regularly and throughout the “Stay Home, Work Safe” period.

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is the sole provider of blood and blood components 24/7 to more than 170 hospitals and health care facilities in a 26-county Texas Gulf Coast region. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is a nonprofit organization and is accredited by the Food and Drug Administration. For more information or to help save lives, visit   

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