Blood donations return to normal after 'unprecedented' week

BloodOne's Pat Michaels says more than 21,000 people showed up to donate


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A record number of people showed up in the hours and days following Sunday's mass shooting in Orlando to donate blood. Blood donation officials call the response unprecedented.

Since Sunday, BloodOne's Pat Michaels said more than 21,000 people showed up to donate.

"I can tell you this one was beyond anything I could ever imagine," Michaels said.

BloodOne said it saw a 40 percent increase in first-time donors.

By Friday, the rush was over. Annie Wood said he was there because it was important.

"I just think anything that you can do in that arena is important -- organ donating, blood donating," Wood said.

Regular donor Jesse Wheelas said he's always been healthy.

"It's just one way to give back, I guess," Wheelas said.

There's also been a 72 percent increase in O-negative donors.

Kay Hobbs has been a regular donor for a couple of years.

“I come every two weeks and I donate platelets," Hobbs said. "I have good blood and I feel like I should share it."

Red blood cells have a shelf life of about 40 days. Platelets just five days, to the agency said it is always in need.

It wasn't just Floridians who turned out to donate. Calls were also received from Boston, Kansas and elsewhere.