Thousands Turn out to Donate Blood in the Aftermath of the Twin Towers Attack
People began arriving at the doors of Community Blood Services (CBS) just minutes after reports of the terrorist attacks on Manhattan’s World Trade Center. By mid-day, the line of prospective blood donors snaked around the building.
Brian Morris of Hawthorne, NJ was one of those on line.
"I was up at school when I heard and got in my car and came right down," said Morris, a student at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. "I don't care how long I have to wait on this line, I need to be here."
Mr. Morris told CBS staff that he has an uncle who works in one of the World Trade Center's offices, and that he hadn't yet heard any news about his whereabouts or condition.
"How can I just go home without helping somehow?" he said, adding that the sense of urgency was even greater for him because he was also a member of the local ambulance corps.
“The outpouring of care from our community was phenomenal,” said Dennis Todd, president and CEO of the blood center. “People not only donated blood, but many stayed on to help out by directing traffic, distributing refreshments to people on line, and doing just about anything that needed to be done.”
“People just needed to help,” said Todd.
Between 15,000 and 20,000 people came to donate blood at Community Blood Services between Tuesday and Friday.
Many of those on line were first-time donors. Annie Yoo, a Bergen County woman who attends Columbia University, was one of many who found themselves wondering how they could help.
"I heard on the car radio that they needed blood," said Ms. Yoo. "I've never done this before but it's a matter of humanity… I wish I could do more."
Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ shuttled students down to the Paramus blood center. Many car-pooled or walked many blocks to stand on line.
Del and Ben Turgelsky hoped to donate blood, but were told that the center was placing a priority on Type-O donors and that they would be called back. But instead of returning home, the Turgeksys volunteered their services to the blood center for the rest of the afternoon.
"I hope this helps even a little bit. These workers are so busy here," said Del Turgelsky.
Todd said that the crisis is by no means over. He stressed that the public should know that as blood and blood products are distributed to local hospitals, there will be a need to quickly replenish supplies.
“Our staff will be calling all those who left their names to begin scheduling appointments over the next several weeks," said Todd, adding that donors were also asked to consider donating plasma and platelets, as well as whole blood in the weeks to come.
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