RALEIGH — Hours after the Sept. 11 attacks, blood banks were filled with people wanting to give blood. Instead of feeling hopeless and helpless, thousands of people got in line and rolled up their sleeves to give blood.
"We did about 830 people the first four days. It was non-stop. We stayed open until midnight the first day," says Sharon Logue, Rex Blood Plan lab services director.
One month later, do people still care? Are people who were asked to give blood at a later date keeping their appointments?
Rex Blood Plan
in Raleigh says it is seeing double the amount of donors. Many people are giving blood for the first time, including a large number of college students and women.
"We have a lot of brand new donors as a result of Sept. 11. This is their first experience, so we try to ease their apprehension," says Logue.
People like Tom Gyori, who give blood on a regular basis, are also coming in for appointments. He tried to donate on Sept. 11.
"Then I found out there was a three-hour waiting list. I said, 'I'll just wait until the lines go down and go back to my normal schedule.' But yeah, it definitely motivated me," he says.
Even though the blood donated will not leave the Triangle, in uncertain times, most people expect that the feelings of patriotism will keep blood donations flowing.
"I think people are being caring and compassionate. They want to give their blood. They feel that's a way they can contribute in a positive manner," says Logue.
People at blood donor centers in Raleigh say there have been some cancellations, but most people are keeping their appointments and scheduling to give again.
But at the Blood Donor Center in Fayetteville, you cannot just walk in off the street and give blood. Only soldiers, their family members, military retirees and Department of Defense civilians can give. And the center is urging them to give now.
The Blood Donor Center at Fort Bragg is short of blood. The center has been averaging fewer than 400 donors a month. It needs 600 donors. And if troops were mobilized, the center would need 2,400 donors a month.
The center is the only one in the nation to stockpile blood on a daily basis for wartime deployment. If units are deployed, the blood supply that goes with them comes from Bragg's Blood Donor Center.
Aggravating the shortage are restrictions on those who can give. Anyone in the military who has spent time in parts of Europe, for example, may not be able to donate. And there are even restrictions on things like tattoos and body piercing. Anyone who has been tattooed or pierced in the past year cannot give to the Blood Donor Center at Fort Bragg.
Blood is only good for 42 days.
You can donate blood every 56 days.