Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria left their mark, but so did blood centers around the nation. Proving once again their resilience and resolve to ensure blood is available when and where it is needed, no matter the circumstances.
Before the first drop of rain arrives, blood centers all over the country unite and come to the aid of blood centers in the path of the storm, sending a reassuring message that you are not alone. OneBlood experienced this first- hand as Hurricane Irma marched towards Florida.
A week after sending blood to Texas to help after Harvey, OneBlood was in the same boat. The largest storm in the history of the United States had its sights set on Florida. Irma was so massive we knew before the storm even arrived that we would be forced to suspend collections for up to three days across our entire system. I am grateful to the national blood banking community who, without hesitation, sent additional blood products to OneBlood to help augment our supply until we could safely resume operations. Your help is appreciated and made a major difference.
Texas and Florida are back to business as usual, but Puerto Rico still needs our help. Widespread destruction, loss of power, and the displacement of millions of people continues to make blood collections a challenge. Given OneBlood’s proximity to Puerto Rico and significant Hispanic demographic, the situation on the island continues to dominate local news coverage reminding us daily of their hardships. We continue to work closely with the American Red Cross, Blood Centers of America, and America’s Blood Centers to provide ongoing shipments of blood and platelets to hospitals in Puerto Rico. Nearly two weeks after the storm has passed many of us are still sending blood and will continue to do so as long as it is needed.
While hurricane season certainly presents blood centers with unique challenges, it also reminds us of the cooperative spirit of our industry in times of need. We are once again watching the solidarity of the blood banking community emerge in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy. We do not know what tomorrow holds, which is why a ready blood supply across the nation is imperative. We are grateful for the assistance OneBlood received in our time of need and will always stand ready to do the same.
Bud Scholl; Board Treasurer