Despite rain, below average temperatures for January on the Gulf Coast, and the ongoing global health crisis, the Biloxi VA Medical Center hosted The Blood Center on January 25 for a day-long blood drive.
The physically distanced appointment-only blood drive was part of a VA coordinated effort designed to support communities across the nation facing shortages of blood due to the ongoing global health crisis.
It was part of a VA-wide action supporting VA’s “Fourth Mission,” assisting the U.S. health care system in times of disaster. Nearly 50 units were collected during the event, a better than average result, according to event organizer Jennifer Disch.
“Veterans and our employees have historically donated 25 to 35 units during Biloxi VA blood drives,” Disch said. “The outpouring of support for this potentially life-saving initiative from our staff and our Veterans is very appreciated. It’s a testament to the close ties we share with our community.”
Founded in 1960, The Blood Center is the primary supplier of blood, blood components and plasma derivatives to local hospitals throughout South Louisiana and parts of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A non-profit, community service organization guided by a volunteer board of trustees, the Blood Center supplies over 50 hospitals and numerous outpatient transfusion facilities in Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi.
A donor and her t-shirt given away during the event
Blood drive continues through March
Disch added that the blood donation process during the event were in keeping with CDC recommendations and VA requirements. Masks were required, as well as temperature checks and frequent wipe-downs of surfaces.
“We have always ensured that we’re protecting our Veterans, their families and our staff by adhering to guidelines and recommendations,” Disch said. “Since a single donation can help up to three people, these donations could support many area Veterans who may need blood or blood products.”
VA’s national blood drive is scheduled through March 2022, so Veterans, their family members and other interested parties are encouraged to visit America’s Blood Centers or the American Red Cross for more information on scheduling appointments at a VA blood drive or blood collection facility.
The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System – comprised of the Biloxi VA Medical Center, the Joint Ambulatory Care Center in Pensacola, Florida; and the Mobile, Alabama, and Eglin and Panama City Beach Community-based Outpatient Clinics – provide a variety of health care services to more than 82,000 Veterans.