One year ago today, 49 people were killed in a shooting at Pulse Night Club in Orlando.
This year, OneBlood collection centers across the state are remembering the shooting by asking the community to donate blood—and to continue donating. The agency’s Pat Michaels is asking everyone to roll up their sleeves.
“OneBlood experienced something that a blood center has never experienced in its history last year,” he said. “We want people to remember that you should give every single day, and not wait for a disaster because you could impact someone’s life.”
Michaels said that it takes no more than 45 minutes to donate blood, however it takes about three to five days for blood donations to be processed and sent to hospitals for use.
OneBlood said coming regularly has a larger impact on the amount of blood available.
“The people who gave to the survivors of the Pulse night club were the people who gave days before.”
Orlando native Kelsey Deese came in on the anniversary to honor the victims and donate.
“I don’t think we need to wait for tragedies to happen to do something good,” she said.
“I think it’s sad that sometimes that’s what it takes to get somebody in the doors but I hope it would encourage them to come back… it kind of puts it into perspective that your blood can be used at any moment in time and it shouldn’t really take a tragedy to make you want to get out there.”
She has family and friends that are part of the LGBTQ community, and said that’s one of the many reasons she continues to donate after the shooting.
Donors can visit the Riggins Road center today to donate and receive a commemorative t-shirt. OneBlood has scheduled blood drives through Wednesday for the anniversary.