Donation center reopens after suffering storm-related damage; in need of blood donations

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After months of major construction, the Vitalant Blood Center in McAllen is back open.

It was one of many businesses affected by the severe storm back on May 1.

"We had some severe flooding. Some of our materials and also some of our machines were impacted dramatically," Vitalant Donor Recruitment Manager Ali Arredondo said.

By May 2, Arredondo says they were back up and operating, just not inside their building.

"We had to get a little smart and creative. So we took one of our buses, one of our blood mobiles, outside and that's where we were seeing and staging our donors," Arredondo said.

Now they're back inside the building.

"So we kindly encourage everyone to come out and donate. Especially during this time. This is the time when we need it the most," Arredondo said.

The blood center says it was very important to continue operating, despite the damage to their offices.

"We have a 25 percent drop from last year. We have this because we don't have enough donors coming in to donate," Arredondo said.

John Britton has been a regular blood donor for three years now. He says he feels good when he receives emails telling him his blood donation helped someone in need.

"I remember one time it was a police officer who had been injured. He got my platelets. So it's beneficial for everybody," Britton said.

Anyone with COVID, HIV, Hepatitis C or cancer should not be donating blood. If you don't know your blood type, be sure to ask your doctor.

Anyone with blood type O is a universal donor and can give to anyone. Any other types can only give to people with the same blood type.

The city of McAllen will be hosting a blood drive open to the public on Wednesday, August 9 at McAllen City Hall.

Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are recommended at vitalant.org/donate.

Watch the video above for the full story.


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