FLORENCE, S.C. — The blood flowed into vials Tuesday afternoon at Central United Methodist Church.
Every 56 days, the church located at the corner of South Irby and West Cheves streets hosts an American Red Cross blood drive.
Each year since the regular drives started, the American Red Cross has been able to collect 250 to 300 units of blood.
According to the American Red Cross, one donation of blood can save up to three lives.
Amy Brauner, executive director of the Eastern South Carolina American Red Cross, said the blood drive helped keep blood on the shelves of local hospitals.
“Especially right now, we’re in a critical time,” Brauner said. “By having great big blood drives, it helps more in their greatest times of need.”
On Tuesday, the waiting area and every donation chair was full.
Linda Randall was among those donating blood.
Randall said she given blood for the past 15 years.
“When I was giving birth to my son, I was almost in need of it [blood] myself,” Randall said from the donation chair. “I didn’t want another mother to have to go through that.”
In 2015, approximately 8.7 million cases of severe maternal bleeding occurred, resulting in 83,000 deaths.
Other common situations in which a person needs blood are surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses and traumatic injuries, according to the American Red Cross.
Tim Carroll, a member of Central, was another donor.
“I’ve been giving since 1964,” Carroll said. “I’ve given about 30 gallons.”
He added he has never had a bad time donating blood. He’s always enjoyed it, and the nurses collecting blood are nice people, he said.
“It’s just a nice event,” he said.
The blood drive at Central began 14 years ago. It was partly organized by now 35-year church member Woody Jones.
“We used to have what we call a hit-and-miss blood drive where we have one occasionally,” Jones said. “About 14 years ago, we started doing one every 56 days, so that way we capture all the people that are regular donors.”
The blood drives are part of the church's outreach ministry.
Jones was honored Tuesday by the Red Cross for 50 years of donating blood. He couldn’t donate this year, because he is undergoing chemotherapy treatments for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
The American Red Cross was established by Clara Barton in 1881 and serves as an emergency assistance, disaster relief and disaster preparedness education organization. One particular service the Red Cross provides is the collection of donated blood.
For more information on donating blood, visit redcrossblood.org.