Gallons of blood donated after 1 October shooting are set to exp - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Gallons of blood donated after 1 October shooting are set to expire

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A bandage covers an arm after a blood donation in an undated image. (File) A bandage covers an arm after a blood donation in an undated image. (File)

Last week, the line went out the door and wrapped around the corner as people donated blood to help out hundreds of victims following the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history. It was one of the first inspiring images since 1 October, the night that changed Las Vegas forever.

A week and a half later, a handful of people were still donating, knowing all of last week's blood won't last forever.

Jeannine McCoy of United Blood Services said that supplies are good for now, but blood only lasts 42 days. If people don't keep coming back, that would be a problem. She said typically only two percent of Las Vegas donates blood, at least until 1 October.

"We have to constantly replenish that blood," McCoy said. "We still have patients in our community who are in need of life-saving blood transfusions." "Some of these people are going to need to have continual surgeries. This is just the beginning of the journey for them"

Most of the donors interviewed on Wednesday were regulars. Howard Vandermeer sat in a chair for more than an hour, donating platelets and plasma, while watching TV shows on an iPad. The platelet donation procedure is significantly more time-consuming than a typical blood donation. Vandermeer sounded embarrassed that he could only do it once a month.

"I've probably done this for the last 20 to 25 years," Vandermeer said. "Normally, I like to think it's going to some child who needs it."

This time, he has a better idea of where his donation might go. 

"I started thinking, you know, why not if I'm able to do it?" Vandermeer said. "So I do."

"I know giving blood is important, important all the time, but especially in light of what happened," Teresa McDonald, another regular who donates every three months said. "Those poor people. I wish there was something I could do."

Anybody who would like to make a donation can walk in to any United Blood Services location or schedule an appointment by following this link.

People may also donate and join the FOX5 #VegasStrong movement by following this link.

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