METAIRIE, LA. — For Teresa Terrio, a stop at the local blood center is part of her routine. She’s been doing it once a month for 14 years. The reason why she donates is close to her heart.
“I have a niece, she’s 20-years-old and when she was six, she was diagnosed with cancer. So, I started donating when she got diagnosed, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” said Terrio.
Terrio’s niece is one of the millions of Americans that receive blood each year. The need for blood continues to grow here in Southeast Louisiana as we battle a pandemic.
“During this time of the year, it’s very difficult to maintain an adequate blood supply for the community. We have the holidays are going on, people are busy, and also, our colleges and high schools are not in session right now,” said Dr. Tim Peterson, Medical Director of The Blood Center.
Dr. Peterson adds that high school and college students account for 20 to 30 percent of our local blood donations. As for the coronavirus, Dr. Peterson says even if you previously had it, you can still donate blood.
“Patients who have recovered from an infection with the virus are eligible to come in and become what’s known as a convalescent plasma donor. The plasma they give has antibodies that has been shown to be effective in treating patients who have a current infection with covid,” said Dr. Peterson.
One donation can go extremely far, in fact, it can save three lives. All you need to do is give a little bit of time.
“I feel like if I’m blessed enough to be healthy and not have cancer, then it’s a small thing you can do to help others,” said Terrio.
Dr. Peterson says the best way to donate is to go to their website, www.bloodcenter.org and sign up for an appointment. If you click on the “Fastlane” tab on the website, you can go through a donor questionnaire on the day of your donation, and that information will be sent directly to the blood bank.