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Tri-Cities blood donations help hurricane victims

David Williams donates his blood at Blood Assurance in Abingdon. Blood Assurance sent units to Charlotte, North Carolina and Greenville, North Carolina. (WCYB/Caleb Perhne)

People in our region are stepping up to help those in the path of Hurricane Florence by donating their blood.

"A lot of people in America should be saving lives to help other people out,” donor David Williams said. “Don't leave them alone."

Red blood cells only last 42 days after donation, and the platelets cancer patients need only last three. That strains hospitals since donations can't happen during the storm.

Blood Assurance has already sent extra blood to help.

"The blood supply that we collect is not ours to keep. It's not our possession,” Donor Recruiter Kelli Ward said. “It's something we want to make sure we have on hand so we can give to people and share that resource."

Marsh Regional Blood Donation Center is on standby, ready for the call when they need to provide blood for hurricane victims.

They have talked with blood banks in Charlotte, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina. Those places may not take a direct hit, but extra patients coming from the coast mean more blood is needed.

Marsh’s donors are asking about Florence.

"They just reach out and say, 'Can we help in some way?'” Marsh Director Don Campbell said. “That's the beauty of blood donors. They don't really care who they're helping. They just want to help."

That's something David Williams agrees with. He's donated for years..

"I save lives. That's the most important thing,” he said.

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