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Here's How You Can Donate Blood for Las Vegas

You can help whether you're a local or on the other side of the country.

by Nicole Spector /
A message about blood donations for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting is displayed on the marquee of the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on Oct. 3, 2017 in Las Vegas.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Sunday night's mass shooting in Las Vegas is shaping up to be the deadliest America has seen, but we can still help save lives by donating blood.

During a news conference yesterday, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman stressed the dire need for donations.

"What we ask for is blood," Goodman said. "Please donate blood."

Despite the unthinkable chaos, fear and grief, locals immediately took action, with lines stretching around the block to donate blood at blood banks in and around Las Vegas.

The response has been so tremendous that the United Blood Services of Las Vegas says it has met the present demand for blood.

Blood donations do expire, so it's critical that people continue to donate through the coming weeks.

Blood donations do expire, so it's critical that people continue to donate through the coming weeks.

Demand Has Been Met For Now, But Not for Long

"As of right now, United Blood Services of Las Vegas has made several deliveries of blood and blood products to Las Vegas-area hospitals and the blood needs for those hospitals are met," says Mitzy Edgecomb, vice president of donor marketing and communications at United Blood Services. "We stand ready to send more if requested. We are encouraging people to schedule their donation appointments to give blood later this week or next instead of coming out right now to donate."

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You can view the full list of United Blood Services locations online, as well as schedule an appointment through the website. You can also make an appointment to give blood and platelets through the American Red Cross by through the Red Cross Blood Donor App, or making an appointment online of over the phone (1-800-RED CROSS).

"The American Red Cross is always a great place to donate and they have systems in place to transport to other locations as needed," says Dr. Casey O'Connell, an associate professor of clinical medicine and clinical hematologist at USC's Keck School of Medicine, indicating that even if you're in another state, your blood could be shipped to Vegas.

Red Blood Expires and Donations Are Needed Year-Round

Blood donations do expire, so it's critical that people continue to donate through the coming weeks.

"In appropriate storage conditions, red blood cells typically last up to several weeks," says Dr. O'Connell, adding that the procedures for blood platelet donations is different and that platelets don’t last nearly as long as red blood cells.

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"Platelets must be stored at room temperature and only live for approximately seven days," says O'Connell.

Keep in mind that after you donate blood, you should wait "about three months" to donate again, O'Connell says.

But it's something all of should be doing on a regular basis, as the demand for blood donations is year-round.

“The need for blood is constant," says Jodi Sheedy, communications director at American Red Cross. "In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease all count on blood and platelet donations to battle illness and injury. That’s why we stress that we need volunteer blood donors each and every day to help save lives – not only during times of emergency.”

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