Blood donations urgently needed

Blood donation centers open in Jacksonville


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There is an urgent need for blood donations, especially Type O, after the mass shooting at Pulse Orlando. People in the Jacksonville area are asked to donate at one of several donation sites in town.

As of Monday night, the blood drive organized by the Jacksonville Firefighters Union had collected 90 units of blood -- more than 11 gallons. 

At the Hyatt hotel in downtown Jacksonville, two mobile blood banks are operating. News4Jax was told this began as a blood drive for firefighters in town for a convention, but now anyone is welcome to donate.

Among them is Jeff Gardner. He told News4Jax this is his first time donating in at least 10 years, but knew the time was right.

"It's always important to donate blood. But I just felt because of the situation, the tragedy in Orlando, I should do it right now, " Gardner said. "I was just shocked. Just shocked. Tremendously shocked. A bunch of people in my neighborhood were looking for a place to donate yesterday (Sunday) but they couldn't, so that's why I came this morning."

Firefighters are taking part. Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, said, "This is a sign of support for Orlando and our brothers and sisters in Orlando."

Wayne Bernoska said he understands this all too well. He is an Orlando-based firefighter. He told News4Jax that he is one of eight Orlando firefighters who traveled to Jacksonville for the convention. When the news broke, half of the group left to go back immediately.

"We found out just like everyone yesterday morning when we awoke. We were alerted by our fire chief, " Bernoska said. "We have some business to take care of this morning and once we take care of that we'll head home and support our members."

Brandon Desch, firefighter visiting Jacksonville from Long Boat Key, Florida, thought about support as well.

"It's a tragic event. Our hearts go out to everybody involved," said Desch.

As he donated blood, Desch couldn't help but think about the responding officers, firefighters, and paramedics who walked into the nightclub following the shooting. Desch says his team has spoken recently about the effects of Post Traumatic Stress on these first responders.

"There's a lot of military members who come back and they become involved in the fire service and the police department. There's a lot of new peer support networks out there. If anyone has any problems relating to PTSD, please get help," said Desch.

The Department of Health Promotion and OneBlood will also host a blood drive on the University of North Florida campus from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday on Osprey Plaza at the Student Union, Building 58. 

Blood donations needed:

Type O negative, O positive and A-B Plasma.

OneBlood said there are false reports circulating that some FDA rules are being lifted, but those reports are false and the blood center will follow all guidelines at all times. 

OneBlood donation sites, hours in Jacksonville area

Sabal Palms Elementary
1201 Kernan Blvd N.
8 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Chick-fil-A - Regency
9398 Atlantic Blvd.
12 p.m. - 2 p.m.

FSCJ - South Campus
Student Activities 11901 Beach Blvd.
12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Publix - Duval Station Road
731 Duval Station Road Suite 4
3 p.m. - 7 p.m.

EPIC Theater at Oakleaf
8368 Merchants Way
2 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Firefighters Drive at Hyatt Regency
225 E Coastline Drive
8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Clay County Donor Center
2153 Kingsley Ave.
7 a.m. - 2 p.m.

South Jacksonville Donor Center
8013 Beach Blvd.
7 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Deerwood Donor Center
7595 Centurion Parkway
11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

West Jacksonville Donor Center
5209 Blanding Blvd.
11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Mandarin Donor Center
10501 San Jose Blvd #4&5
7 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Mayo Clinic
4500 San Pablo Road
11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Beaches Donor Center
1927 North 3rd Street
11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

For more information, visit oneblood.org or call 1-888-9 Donate to schedule an appointment. OneBlood does recommend making an appointment. OneBlood said the outpouring of support has been tremendous.

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