Large number of blood donations continuing

Banks hope people consider drives later this year
Posted at 6:09 PM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-13 18:09:24-04

A huge outpouring of support continues from people wanting to help the Orlando victims. Blood banks are still seeing long lines with some people waiting over four hours to donate.

Manny Alvarez is one of hundreds of people waiting in those long lines to donate blood.

"This is hitting close to home now," he said.

Alvarez has a relative who was inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando Sunday and was shot six times. She's recovering in the hospital, and he just wanted to do something to help.

"There's not much I can do at this point other than help the family, be supportive, but also give a part of my life to help someone else's life," said Alvarez.

Kirstin Mcintyre feels the same way.

"So many people were hurt and devastated by what happened, but if we can do a little bit by giving blood, it makes me feel a little bit better about everyone that's going through so many hard times right now," she said.

Mcintyre and her girlfriend were just at Pulse nightclub two weeks ago.

"The reality of we could've been there and we weren't and don't know anyone that was...that's just a scary thing," she said.

One Blood is grateful for every person who has stepped up to the plate, helping meet the emergency demand for blood. They collected 5,300 units of blood donations on Sunday alone.

"Blood is needed to save lives. It's accidents. It's surgeries. It's for the treatment of diseases...So many ways blood is used every day," said Dan Eberts with One Blood.

You just have to be at least 16 and in good health to donate. But remember that recent foreign travel or being a gay man could limit your ability to give. So it's good to check with the blood bank ahead of time.

The blood pouring in now will help re-stock the shelves, and blood banks hope people will continue to donate in the days and weeks to come.

"Pay it forward. Protect our community by making sure blood is on the shelf at all times when it's needed most," Eberts said.

One Blood also recommends making an appointment online or by phone to help speed up the process when you donate.