Blood donations saved lives in Waukesha, more donations needed, says Versiti Blood Center spokeseman

Waukesha parade tragedy serves as reminder of impact blood donations on hospitals

WAUKESHA, Wis. (WKBT) – A Versiti Blood Center spokesman said blood donations saved lives in Waukesha Sunday night. Versiti needs additional donations to fill a shortage and ensure more people can get blood when they need it.

“I immediately ran downstairs outside of my apartment and I can see kids laying on the street, people putting blankets over them, kids screaming on the sidewalks,” said Melinda Stoffel, a witness of a Christmas Parade that turned deadly in Waukesha.

Monday, the state of Wisconsin mourned the loss of five of its own. An SUV plowed into a Christmas Parade Sunday night leaving five people dead and 48 others injured. Some of those people were children.

“It was just, for lack of a better, just carnage,” said Chief Steven Howard of the Waukesha Fire Department. “Liking it to a war zone.”

The chaos made national headlines and prompted an outpouring of support around the country. NFL star and former Wisconsin Badger JJ Watt taking to Twitter thanking first responders. President Joe Biden offered his condolences Monday.

“This morning, Jill and I and the entire Biden family, and I’m sure all of, us pray that that same spirit is going to embrace and lift up all the victims of this tragedy, bringing comfort to those recovering from the injuries and wrapping the families of those who died in the support of their community,” Biden said.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers ordered all flags at Half-Staff as a mark of respect for the victims in Waukesha. Monday, Versiti Blood Centers Vice President for Transfusion Medicine Dr. Dan Waxman said blood donations saved lives Sunday night.

“We were very fortunate to have donors who stepped up days ago, weeks ago, so that our hospitals have the inventory they need for such tragedies like this,” Waxman said.

He said people can donate money and time, but he said the impact blood donations make is priceless.

“You could give me billions of dollars, smartest people, best lab,” Waxman said. “We cannot invent in a lab what someone can do just by raising their arm, donating blood, and saving lives.”

Acts of service like this, helped families in Waukesha see their loved ones again as this community heals from this wound.

“Waukesha will not be defined by the horrific events of last night,” said Shawn Reilly, the mayor of Waukesha. “We are a community that will come together. We will help those who experienced a loss of a loved one or were injured. We will work together to bring healing. The healing needs to begin now.”

People can donate blood if they are at least 16 and have parental consent. Donors also need to weigh at least 110 pounds. Type O blood is especially needed right now.

For more information on how to donate blood, people can visit the Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin or the American Red Cross websites.

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