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Virginia blood donation center sees increase following Orlando shooting

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SALEM (WSLS 10) - Many in our region are participating in World Blood Donor Day to show support for the Orlando victims. Staff at Virginia Blood Services said, following the deadly shooting, they sent emergency supplies to help. Now they hope the community comes out to help replenish local supplies.

Hours after the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, people lined up for hours in Orlando to give blood. Following news of the tragedy, people across the world wanted to help. Staff at Virginia Blood Services in Salem saw more donors than expected as they opened on Tuesday. Members of the Salem Red Sox front office were among those reaching out their arms as a sign of support.

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"The first thing that went through my head was, I can't believe it happened again," said Kevin Burke, Salem Red Sox Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations. "I'm a Hokie, I went through, in a way, 4/16 so this has a profound impact on me."

"This is my first time ever donating blood," said Chelsea Booth, Community Relations Manager. "I thought this is a great opportunity. It's sad why I am doing it but this is a time to help as much as you can."

In the summer, the need for blood goes up and donations drop.

"The donations are down because of vacations and schools not being in session." said Doug Rubel, Regional Account Manager Virginia Blood Service. "We have a lot more trauma accidents on the roadway at this time".

When emergencies happen, patients rely on blood donations to survive.

"It's always a need because trauma victims usually require anywhere between upwards to 100 units of blood so we need to keep our supplies healthy here," said Rubel.

Organizers said their goal is to collect 400 units a day to meet the area's needs. Staff at Virginia Blood Services said they are on standby to send donations to Orlando if needed. They are encouraging more people to donate to make sure there is enough supply for local patients.

For more information about donating click here.