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Jacksonville donates blood to help victims in Orlando shooting

WJXT4's Jenese Harris shares her experience donating blood

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Early Sunday morning, June 12,  the world began to learn of a mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando. Hours later, One Blood began asking Floridians for help. They are in urgent need of blood for shooting victims of Pulse nightclub, especially O negative blood. 

I've known since I was a teen that my blood was O negative, a universal donor. Essentially, I can donate to anyone who needs blood. In my mind, there is no other choice - get up and donate. 

It's 4:25 p.m. and there are about 20 people waiting, holding umbrellas shielding their skin from the sun and holding tiny plastic cups filled with evaporating ice. It's hot. It's so hot, we probably shouldn't be standing out here for a long time. However, there seems to be a consensus among everyone. No one wants to leave, no matter how many hours it would take, until they are able to donate blood. 

In front of me is a woman named Candace and behind me is a woman named Ruth. We all arrived about the same time. As the first hour passed, we begin to share stories about life, and the tragedy that had brought us together. Suddenly, a cloud shifts in the sky, covering the sun, and we all exhale. A break from the sun.

5:35 p.m. An hour has passed and some people have decided to leave. Ruth, Candace and me, we are staying; this is too important.

6:22 p.m. Two hours has passed and now we are at the front of the line. We are celebratory, taking selfies and exchanging numbers. Shortly after, we are on  the mobile donation bus.

The process is done at 7:32 p.m.  The donation drive should've ended 30 minutes ago, but there are still 20 to 30 people standing outside. The nurses tell say they will wait and accept everyone's blood until the last person is gone.  

In two hours, I saw an enduring love among strangers brought together by a tragic moment. In two hours, hundreds of people around Florida were giving a small pint of blood to save the lives of others. 

 

How long does it take to donate blood?

The donation process generally takes about 15 minutes from beginning to end. 

What are the requirements to donate blood?

You will need to fill out paperwork and a questionnaire.  A nurse will also ask you questions about recent travel, sexual activity and any illnesses. You will need to bring a photo ID. 

Here is a link to requirement details:

https://www.oneblood.org/about-donating/blood-donor-basics/can-i-donate/ 

Where can I donate blood?

Click this link to search blood bank donations in the state.

https://www.oneblood.org/

 


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