by Dan Bock
Campus Times Staff
Almost as soon as the Boeing 767s hit the twin towers at the World Trade Center Tuesday morning, members of the UR community were lining up to donate blood to help the victims of the tragedies.
Although there was no estimate of the combined death toll from the plane crashes in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. available Wednesday, donation centers were jammed with people trying to help.
Junior Steve Salipante showed up to a blood drive at Strong Memorial Hospital at 8:30 Wednesday morning and had to wait until 12:30 p.m. to give blood. He said he wanted to help the victims of the tragedies.
?I think it?s horrible that everyday people were targets of an attack,? he said.
?At least when you?re in the military, you know you?re risking your life,? said junior Andrew Berti, who accompanied Salipante to the blood drive.
Berti added that he supported the reaction of President George W. Bush. ?For the first time, I approve of a decision Bush made.?
Wednesday?s blood drive had been in the works before Tuesday?s attacks. The Red Cross had originally set a goal of 100 donors, but Supervisor of Operations Pamela Harris estimated that over 200 people had donated and added that additional potential donors had to be turned away.
?We had to cut it off for a couple of hours,? she said. ?I don?t want this room to become a fire hazard.? She said that 100 people were on a waiting list to give blood before the blood drive opened at 9:00 a.m.
Throughout the day, people who showed up to donate were told there was a three hour wait. Many decided not to donate after hearing this news, according to Christy Nichols, a medical student who was volunteering. ?I?m probably going to give blood later in the week,? she said. ?I don?t want to wait three hours either.?
There were 13 Red Cross staff members and seven volunteers at the blood drive. Demond Davidson, a mobile unit assistant for the Red Cross, said the delays resulted from having an average-sized staff available for an above-average number of donors.
?We could use more staff, but we?re limited by so many blood drives going on,? he said.
The National Association of Community Blood Centers, which supplies 70 percent of the blood in New York City, said that it sent about 15,000 pints to the city immediately after the attacks and was working with the military to ship more.
?Some hospitals are running out of blood,? a spokeswoman for the association told Reuters. ?We need people to donate blood in Washington, New York and northern New Jersey.?
Harris did not know how much of the blood donated at Wednesday?s blood drive would go to victims of Tuesday?s attacks, and added that all the blood had to be processed in Rochester.
People who wish to donate blood on Thursday can go to the Greece Blood Center or Prince Street between 1:00 and 7:00 p.m. There will be more blood drives Friday in the Dome Arena from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Prince Street from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Dan Bock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.