OBI Sending Blood To Orlando To Help Shooting Victims

Monday, June 13th 2016, 6:17 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

Oklahomans are helping to save lives in Orlando after so many victims there need surgery and treatment.

When the Oklahoma Blood Institute got a call from Florida asking for help, Tulsans 1,200 miles away were able to help.

Hundreds have waited in line to donate blood in Orlando, but at the Oklahoma Blood Institute, it was a pretty normal day.

It's because of regular donors like Debi Abbott keeping the shelves stocked, that the institute was able to send 15 units of blood to Florida.

"I'm here today because I am a regular blood donor, I give about every eight weeks, and because of the disaster in Orlando, I felt like it was important for me to come today," she said.

Abbott said she has a rare blood type.

"I've been called in the past to give blood in situations where people have needed it for surgeries and things like that," she said.

This isn't the first time the Oklahoma Blood Institute has been able to give blood across the country. Executive Director Jan Laub said they also helped on September 11th.

"During 9/11 we were the first to be contacted because we had the supply. And I believe we were the only airplane in the air, ya know, because everything was grounded," Laub said.

The executive director said while donating blood after a tragedy is appreciated, it might be too late to save someone's life.

"You could come in today and give and not know that you're gonna save somebody's life tomorrow or next week. That's why it's so important to have it on the shelves. Because that's what helped the victims in Orlando," said Laub.

Being a part of making sure the blood is ready is just one of the reasons Abbott is a regular donor.

"I just feel that it's the gift of life," she said.

The American Red Cross in Tulsa also sent blood to Orlando. It sent 30 units of type O-Negative, and it is ready to send more to Florida if needed.