Local blood donation centers are asking for your help to support victims in recent mass shootings

Posted at 4:05 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-05 22:39:51-04

Vitalant blood donation centers across the country are preparing to send blood to hospitals treating shooting victims.

People right here on the Central Coast are stepping up, or rather sitting down to help victims of recent mass shootings.

"I think any time you have the opportunity to help somebody out and just keep the circle of love going because you never know when you might need the help,” said blood donor Kayla Casteel.

Love in the form of pints of blood as Vitalant donation centers across the country work to replenish supplies for area hospitals in El Paso, Texas.

“When you have a disaster or tragedy such as what just occurred in El Paso, it's the blood on the shelves that help save the victims,” said Mona Kleman, Senior Donor Recruitment Manager at Vitalant SLO.

She says sister centers have already sent more than 350 units.

Though donations made at the San Luis Obispo location may not directly travel to the Lone Star state, they still help.

“In Northern California, one of our centers up there had shipped product out to Texas and so what we are going to be doing is sending some product from here up to Northern California to help replenish their supply,” Kleman explained.

However, it was a different mass shooting that got this woman to give blood.

“We started donating after the Las Vegas shooting because we actually had friends that were there,” said Janaih Suyematsu, a regular blood donor.

Suyematsu took to her social media to recruit friends.

“You never know, it keeps happening, it could happen in your own community, too,” said Casteel. “So just take the opportunity to help somebody out."

Others are glad to help year-round.

“I try to donate as much as I can because of my blood type because it's not a very common one, AB+. When I found that out, I was like, 'oh man, I want to save lives,” said Mrs. Ellis, a regular blood donor.

“That’s how I support my community. I feel blood drives is how I do,” said John Stone, a regular donor.

Vitalant staff members are prepared for an influx of donors and are still asking for people to come in the next couple of days to help keep that cycle going.

You can click here to find a Vitalant donation center or blood drive near you.

Click here to donate money to victims in the Dayton, Ohio shooting.

KSBY is hosting a blood drive on August 28 from 2 to 7 p.m. at our studios in San Luis Obispo and at Vitalant in Santa Maria. A free meal and t-shirt will be provided to anyone who donates.