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El Pasoans moved to donate blood after the Uvalde mass shooting

EL PASO, Texas – Just one day after the deadly Uvalde shooting in an elementary school, many El Pasoans have chosen to roll up their sleeves and donate blood.

On the day of the Aug. 3rd mass shooting, hundreds of El Pasoans lined up outside of Vitalant waiting to donate blood.

El Pasoans came together to donate after blood was needed urgently. The response was overwhelming.

On Wednesday afternoon, many people also visited the blood bank as a result of the Uvalde shooting.

Although a large percentage of the blood that is donated here, stays here, there are some cases where blood is shipped out to other areas.

An official at Vitalant said they were able to send 15 units of blood to Uvalde area hospitals. Vitalant has local blood banks across the United States. The donations that were sent to Uvalde were coming from multiple blood banks. However, it is important to note that officials won't know where local blood donations are sent.

Martin Gomez, the donor recruitment manager at Vitalant El Paso, said it is important to have enough inventory of blood, especially when tragedies like this occur.

Gomez said it is imperative to donate blood year-round because it's the blood on the shelves that saves people’s lives. “When tragedies like this happen, it takes 24-48 hours for a unit of blood to be available and so it really is the blood that is on the shelves that saves life.”

Gomez remembers the long lines on Aug. 3rd. He said many people who donated Wednesday came today out because of the recent shooting.

He says El Paso continues to show its solidarity with other communities who have experienced this type of incident.

“I think a lot of people are now interested, people are calling us, they are calling to set up blood drives. They want to know where we can donate.”

He said many El Pasoans want to show other communities they stand alongside them- even when giving blood.

“We know what they are suffering know, and we know the need. And I personally my mission is to encourage people don’t wait for things like this to happen to donate," he said.

El Pasoan, Amy Wagler, visited Vitalant one day after the shooting.

She said she wants to donate now, especially because of the dire need.

Wagler said the shooting gave her that extra motivation. She says she donates blood every two months.

“I think when you realize how many people’s lives can be saved by a simple act like this, it motivates you to come out. It takes 15 minutes, but can save someone’s life,” she said.

Wagler said she is a mother herself and wants to show her kids that no act of kindness is too small.

“I guess I just want to be a good example to them because, again it is a very simple thing to do, but sometimes one action can have a lot of impact and this is one way where a small thing can have a lot of impact, especially by someone who is helped by your donation,” she said.

Gomez said the blood bank in El Paso is low in inventory and encourages people to donate. All blood donations are accepted.

Those interested can make an appointment at Vitalant, and walk-ins are also accepted.

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Rosemary Montañez

ABC-7 Reporter


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