Can you donate blood to Orlando shooting victims if you don't live in Florida?
People have been waiting in line for hours outside Florida donation centers to give blood in the wake of the massacre of 50 people in an Orlando nightclub on Sunday morning. The desire to help — in some small way — is one tiny ray of hope in the midst of horror, but blood banks are now asking people to wait.
"I've been here 13 years and never seen a response like this," Pat Michaels, a spokesman for OneBlood, told The Orlando Sentinel, adding that the centers are at capacity with donors. "The sentiment is understood and appreciated, but it's a little too much, too soon."
Instead, donation centers are asking people to make appointments for later this week. Blood will be needed to replenish stock as time goes on, so there's still a chance to help.
Want to help, but don't live in Florida? You can — and should — give blood if you're eligible, especially if your blood type is O negative. Many blood banks around the country are shipping blood to Florida, though there is no guarantee that it will make it to the victims. That shouldn't stop you from trying to help — your blood will make a difference in someone's life, even if it doesn’t make it to Florida.
That said, there are other ways to help. Equality Florida, the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is raising money for victims via a GoFundMe page. All funds will be donated to help victims and their families in the aftermath, and the organization confirmed it's work with the National Center for Victims of Crime to distribute the proceeds.