News of the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub left many asking themselves what they could do to help, and hundreds of Suncoast Residents went to donate blood. One year later, Suncoast Blood Bank is asking donors to continue regular donations.
Over 300 pints of blood were used in the first 24 hours after the Shooting at Pulse Nightclub, blood that was available thanks to regular donations.
“I’m healthy and it’s something I can do for somebody else,” Nancy Flaherty said. “And it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to do it, so I figure it’s the least I can do.”
On June 12, 2016, Suncoast Residents looked toward blood donation as a way they could help in the wake of the Pulse tragedy.
“The general feeling here was just sorrow, and just wanting to do something and to help the community.”
SunCoast Blood Bank’s Director of Community Development Jayne Giroux says now blood donation can be a way to remember.
“We had around 600 new donors come in,” Giroux said. “And we actually reached out to all of those donors and asked them to come in today if they were eligible to donate.”
After donating during tragedies, people are likely to become regular donors.
SunCoast Blood bank calls, texts, and emails when blood is needed.
“Once we can get somebody in here, even for the first time,” Giroux said. “They realize it’s not scary, it doesn’t hurt, it’s extremely gratifying and you get cookies when you’re done.”
Some most affected by the tragedy were unable to donate; FDA rules still prohibit gay men from donating blood.
“We wish that rule would change,” Giroux said. “Because there are so many safeguards in place, we test every unit of blood.”
Giroux says the more people who are able to donate, the more lives they can save.
“By eliminating certain people from donating blood,” Giroux said. ‘We’re eliminating a lot of lives that could be saved. We’re eliminating a lot of units that could save lives.”
Giroux says if you are looking for a way to remember the victims, their doors are open.
SNN is holding a blood drive on Monday, June 19th, for more information visit http://www.snntv.com/save-our-summer/