OneBlood has asked people who wish to donate blood to come back after Sunday. An overwhelming response to the organization’s request for blood donations for victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting has quickly filled their banks with more than enough, but OneBlood officials say they might need to replenish the donations next week.
A lone gunman entered popular nightclub Pulse I Orlando, Florida at around 2:00 a.m. Sunday, opened fire and killed 50 people, wounding 53 more. It has been described as the worst mass shooting in the United States.
Pat Michaels, spokesperson for OneBlood, told the Orlando Sentinel, “I’ve been here 13 years and never seen a response like this. The sentiment is understood and appreciated, but it’s a little too much, too soon.”
The blood centers are now at capacity from walk-in donors, and hundreds more wait in line at the OneBlood center on West Michigan Avenue to give their own blood, in an outpouring of sympathy for the victims of the deadly attack. A few hours after the shooting, the line of donors had spilled out the door, snaking through the parking lot and down West Michigan Avenue.
Several would-be donors have expressed that they wanted to do something to help, and others wanted to make sure their friends and family members were safe from harm.
Grace Howard, a digital editor at Bonnier Corporation, was one of those lined up. She said, “It’s pretty amazing to see the community support…What else can I do? This is a huge tragedy for our city.”
In December of last year, the US Food and Drug Adminstration loosened a ban that had previously prohibited gay and bisexual men from donating blood. The ban had come from the earlier fears regarding the transmission of AIDS via blood transfusions. Despite this, OneBlood has yet to update its policies on blood donations.
Donors willing to give types O negative, O positive and AB plasma are still needed. Donors should be healthy, over the age of 16 and weigh at least 100 pounds. The OneBlood website has more information on the locations of donation centers.