TEMPE — The schedule was full at the Vitalant Tempe Donor Center Thursday with people willing and eager to roll up their sleeves amid the tragedy that unfolded in Texas on Tuesday.
"I try to donate as consistently as possible," said Tom Doody. "I think there's a little extra impetus when something happens in the world like what happened recently in Texas."
Janet Boston, a full-time nurse, lended her arm to the cause as well.
"I may not be able to be there to actually physically do something, but I'm actually able to help in some small way," Boston said. "This is one of the easiest things to do."
Vitalant organizers say some of the blood collected will be pooled with donations in the region and sent directly to the victims in Texas.
At the same time, Vitalant is preparing for their annual blood drive in conjunction with Phoenix Fan Fusion downtown. Fan Fusion is a comic and cosplay event which usually draws dozens of blood donors to the Vitalant location, which will be set up in room 123 at the Phoenix Convention Center this year.
One of this year's Fan Fusion participants is Haley Elliot.
In cosplay, Elliot is the Marvel character "Agent Carter." But it was her fight in real life that made Haley strong.
Elliot born with Diamond Blackfan Anemia, a rare blood disease preventing red blood cell production.
"I was on blood transfusions every month for the first seven years of my life," Elliot said. And without people donating blood, "I would have died," she said.
Organizer Sue Thew says everyone who donates blood at one of their centers between May 27 and September 9 will be entered to win a 2022 Volkswagen Taos, donated by our Volkswagen Dealers.
Vitalant is teaming up with Pizza Hut this year giving all donors a coupon for a free cookie pizza.
Thew says it's the lifesaving donation however, that makes people true heroes.
"It’s tragic," Doody said, reflecting on Texas. "There’s just so much sadness and everything going on in the world right now, so if this can make a difference at all, it’s the least I can do," he said.
Vitalant says blood donations decline 25% during the Memorial Day holiday, while the need increases due to traffic accidents on busy roadways.
"So now is the perfect time to donate blood," Thew said.