Red Cross receives ‘tremendous’ support; some turn donors away

Liz Kohman

Blood is pumping on the third floor of the American Red Cross on West River Parkway. Red Cross volunteers and employees bustle about, handing out forms, directing traffic and keeping donors supplied with snacks.

“Support has been tremendous,” Red Cross spokesman Jon Siess said of the donor response to people injured in Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.

Red Cross blood banks in Minnesota and parts of Iowa and Wisconsin collected blood Tuesday from 1,800 donors – twice the normal number of donors in a day. Siess estimated the same number donated Wednesday.

Some blood donation centers had to turn donors away.

Siess said there will be an on-going need for blood, and blood banks will need donor support in the next few months.

Annette Bond, a University graduate student, said she normally donates blood once a year, but yesterday’s events spurred her to action.

“All yesterday felt like a nightmare,” Bond said. “I kept wanting to wake up and for it to have been a dream.”

At the Minneapolis-area Red Cross, there was constant noise and activity in the waiting room as donors filled out forms. In the donation room, donors looked out the windows at the Mississippi River or watched TV footage of the World Trade Center towers collapsing.

Cassandra Garside, a sophomore at North Hennepin Community College, said Tuesday’s events incited her to give blood for the first time.

“I had been intending to for a while, and this gave me a boost,” Garside said.

The blood bank is staying open extra hours this week to meet the demand, but it is still booked with appointments through Friday. The Red Cross will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Walk-in donors might have to wait two to three hours to donate, blood bank workers said.

To make an appointment, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE. Call (612) 817-7676 to volunteer at a Red Cross blood bank.

To make a financial contribution to the Red Cross, call the WCCO-TV sponsored phone bank at (612) 330-2764.

 

Liz Kohman welcomes comments at [email protected]