The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, which serves 170 hospitals and health care institutions across 26 counties, hosted a luncheon Feb. 22 to celebrate 2023 accomplishments and look ahead at what’s to come in 2024.

By the numbers

In 2023, the organization recorded:
  • 47,863 new donors
  • 135,526 total donors
  • 17,956 volunteer hours
  • 7,081 blood drives
  • 312,233 blood components
  • 710,610 lives impacted
Vice President of Operations Theresa Pina said the blood center had about 6,000 fewer donors in 2023 than in 2022. The average donor gave 1.74 times, while the goal is quarterly, she said.

To meet the region’s needs, the center needs to collect 1,000 units of blood every day, Pina said.

“There is a growing need in our community due to the number of motor vehicle accidents as well as violent crimes. Unfortunately, those are things that we face every day now, so there's a growing need for blood donations to help serve the community,” she said.

Some context

A large portion of blood donations come from local businesses, churches, community centers, schools and other venues. Pina said remote work since COVID-19 has affected the number of business donations, but there was a slight increase in business blood drives in 2023 over 2022.

Another trend in 2023 was an increase in the use of prehospital care units. With 1,626 units in 2023, there are plans to expand that program this year, she said.

“These are whole blood units that are put on Life Flight [or] on an emergency response vehicle so that all of our emergency care response teams out in our community can start transfusing blood immediately on the scene. That time between the accident and getting to the hospital is very critical,” Pina said.

Giving back

As part of the luncheon, the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center announced its 2023 award recipients and celebrated these individuals and organizations for their support.