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Upstate Giving, Nov. 16

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Joe Erwin, chairman and principal owner of the Greenville Triumph, encourages donors to come to Fluor Field Friday for a blood and plasma drive. (Photo/Molly Hulsey) Greenville teams raise awareness for plasma drive

As COVID-19 cuts into sports seasons and tickets sales, business leaders of Greenville’s professional baseball, hockey and soccer teams met last week to raise awareness for “Unite to Fight,” a plasma donation drive scheduled for Nov. 20 at Fluor Field from 11 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“If you have had COVID-19, your plasma can give you superpowers,” said Joe Erwin, chairman and principal owner of the Greenville Triumph and co-founder of EP & Co. “But if you donate plasma, then that plasma can treat people who have COVID-19 and can help them get better and recover as you do. And if you have blood to give, as we all do, then show up here this Friday … this is something we all can do.” 

Erwin said the team knew firsthand about the potential of plasma treatment after someone in the Triumph’s “soccer family” recovered from a near-death experience with COVID-19 after three months in a hospital.

Erwin was joined by Todd Mackin, president of Spire Hockey’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits, Jeff Brown, vice president of marketing for the Greenville Drive and Delisa English, CEO of The Blood Connection.

“We are going to rise up. We are going to drive hard. We are going to triumph over this,” English said at the event.

The campaign is part of an ongoing Blood Connection outreach effort to boost stores of convalescent plasma used in COVID-19 treatment. Antibodies in the plasma of donors who have recovered from COVID-19, can be collected and transfused into patients suffering from the coronavirus, where it generates additional antibodies to fight the virus.

Donors who have recovered from COVID-19 must have been symptom-free for at least 14 days before donating plasma, weigh 110 pounds and be in good health. Donors do not have to have a negative COVID-19 test result before donation and should expect to give less than 90 minutes of their time to give plasma or blood.

Along with Remdesivir and steroids, the treatment is one of the most effective treatments available for extreme cases of COVID-19, according to a news release from the event. To prepare for this “Turn Positive into a Positive” campaign, Piedmont-based The Blood Connection has partnered with Primsa Health, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System and the Piedmont Health Foundation, among other community leaders.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to be out here next Friday,” Mackin said at the press conference. “We will be here. We will be giving blood, and we will be giving plasma. Our staff will be doing that. I will be doing that and urge everyone else to jump on board with that, to come out and get involved.

Reach Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1223.

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