UPMC, Community Blood Bank partner to ‘bolster blood supply’

Beth Russell donates blood during a recent inaugural blood drive born of a partnership between the health organization and Community Blood Bank.

An inaugural blood drive formed through a partnership between UPMC Susquehanna and the Community Blood Bank drew more than 60 blood donors to the Williamsport Regional Medical Center earlier this month.

The partnership was born in an effort to bolster the UPMC Susquehanna’s blood supply, said Jennifer Brownlee, community relations manager for the blood bank.

“Community Blood Bank is enthusiastic about partnering with the UPMC Susquehanna health care system,” said Scott Greenwell, executive director of the blood bank. “We are dedicated to ensuring that our network of hospitals has an adequate supply of blood and blood products for every patient in need, in every community we serve.”

Greenwell emphasized that the blood bank relies on local donors to meet the needs of local patients, and added that he is “confident in the organization’s ability to become an integral part of the health system’s and the community’s blood supply.”

The blood bank is a nonprofit organization based in Erie. Though it is new to Lycoming County, it has partnered with organizations statewide to help increase blood supplies, Brownlee said.

Brownlee said the first drive was successful and the partners are looking forward to the next one.

“Drives will be held on a rotating basis at each

of UPMC Susquehanna’s (local) campuses: Divine Providence Hospital, Muncy Valley Hospital and Williamsport Regional Medical Center,” Brownlee said. “Drives also are held the first Monday of the month at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital.”

The next blood drive will be held at Divine Providence Hospital from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6. Appointments can be made by visiting fourhearts.org or by calling 570-789-4026, though walk-ins are always welcome, Brownlee said.

Donors will receive a $15 Amazon gift card as well, she added.

According to the blood bank, just “one pint of blood can save up to three lives.” That said, the organization said it needs “about 700 donors each and every week in order to keep up with usage by our partner hospitals” statewide.

While not all forms of donation may be accepted at each local blood drive, pending staff and equipment, people with A+, A-, B+, B-, O+ and O- blood types are urged to schedule double-red donation appointments, if eligible, and people with O+ and A+ blood types are encouraged to donate platelets when able.

The organization also encourages AB+ and AB- donors to donate blood and plasma simultaneously. As type O- is the universal donor of red blood cells, type AB is the universal recipient.

“All are welcome to donate as long as it has been 56 days since their last donation and you are healthy, over 110 pounds, feel well and are at least 17 years of age,” Brownlee said. “After donating, participants are urged to replenish their energy with free snacks and beverages.”