TAMPA, Fla. — The SunCoast Blood Centers has sent blood products to hospitals near Uvalde, Texas after a mass shooting at an elementary school on Tuesday morning.
"Our hearts are broken by this senseless tragedy," CEO of SunCoast Blood Centers Scott Bush said. “We have mobilized our team to support the needs of local patients and hospitals in South Texas and we are sending blood to our partner blood center, South Texas Blood and Tissue, who are the stewards of the local blood supply in that part of Texas."
SunCoast Blood Centers joined the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps. Dec. 1. A group of blood centers around the country work on an on-call schedule to assist during natural disasters and mass casualty incidents.
"We joined in December. Our first week, we sent blood to Kentucky for those tornadoes. This week, we were on call and we were activated this morning and we rushed blood to Texas," Director of Community Relations at SunCoast Blood Centers Steve Malavé said.
There is an urgent need for blood nationwide.
"We need blood. We need to service the local patients here at local hospitals," said. "We're talking cancer patients, trauma patients like what happened in Texas, newborn patients and those people who have surgeries. The reality is a very small portion of our population, 3% donate blood and that’s to service everybody, do the math, it doesn’t make sense. There’s no substitute for human blood."
Joe Banach heard about the critical shortage and donated blood at SunCoast Blood Centers in Lakewood Ranch.
"It's tough, knowing that they were doing their last week of school there and probably thought it was just a fun week so then not knowing that it's the last time they're seeing their kid," blood donor Joe Banach said. "It's pretty awful."
"This is one little small, small piece, we can contribute."
To schedule a donation call 1-866-97-BLOOD or online