9/12/01: Blood donations appreciated but deferred

9/12/01: Blood donations appreciated but deferred

This story originally appeared on Sept. 12, 2001.

Samuel Martland and Edna Kersting were just two of an unknown number of volunteers who offered to donate blood Tuesday in the wake of the shocking attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.

"I'm just trying to do everything I can," said Kersting, 26, of Champaign.

Pat Kovar, chief executive officer of Community Blood Services of Illinois, the local blood bank in Urbana, said offers for blood donations were overwhelming locally and across the country.

"We are asking donors coming in to consider not donating today, but to leave their names and phone numbers where we can call them," Kovar said.

Staff and volunteers at the Danville Red Cross spent the day fielding phone calls from concerned Vermilion County residents, according to Executive Director Carolyn Schwabauer.

Schwabauer said that the Red Cross can accept monetary donations, however, they cannot accept in-kind donations such as food or supplies. They do not need blood donations.

"We actually held a very successful blood draw yesterday," Schwabauer said, adding scheduled blood drives will continue in other towns across the state. "Currently, in the nation, we're at an all- time high, and the national headquarters is coordinating the supply of blood into the affected areas. . . . That could change in the coming days, but right now, things are pretty good."

"Giving blood is something that comes to mind whenever there is a tragedy," Kovar said. "We are seeing a tremendous outpouring of interest by people wanting to do something."

Martland, 27, of Urbana, rode to the center on his bicycle and offered to donate blood. He said he used to be a blood donor but had been out of the country for awhile.

"It takes a lot of blood," Martland said of the crisis.

Kersting, a native of Germany and a third-year law student at the University of Illinois, said she was shaken by Tuesday morning's events and wanted to do something to help. She said she had interviewed with law firms at the World Trade Center and knows people who work there.

"Seeing the pictures on television, it's terrifying," Kersting said.

Kovar said similar responses were being seen everywhere, even in New York. The blood bank there sent out an e-mail indicating their facilities were also overwhelmed with potential donors.

Any blood needed today had to have been drawn and in the blood bank, Kovar said. Any blood drawn now, including normal donor appointments, will be available for emergency distribution as needed. If necessary, National Guard airplanes could be used to ship supplies, he said.

People interested in donating blood should phone their local Community Blood Services office and leave their names and phone numbers.