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Blood donations in Lexington way up following tornadoes

Stu Johnson

The western Kentucky tornadoes have prompted many Kentuckians to ask, ‘what can we do?’ One of the suggestions offered the last few days is to give blood. And that request has been heard. Kentucky Blood Center Brand Supervisor Cathryn Papasodora said the Lexington site has seen a doubling of donations.

“We’ve hit our 400-plus target almost every single day since the tornadoes have happened. Although, all the blood needs have been met in western Kentucky, it’s been really heartwarming to see all these people come in because they’re the people that are gonna help save lives over the holidays,” said Papasodora.

Papasodora said blood centers across the country sent blood to western Kentucky to meet immediate needs. She noted if additional requests arise, blood donated in central Kentucky could still travel west. Papasodora added there have been critical shortages during the COVID pandemic.

Mike Maxwell donated Wednesday. He’s a retired fire chief from Hopkinsville. Maxwell remembers working a tornado that hit north Hopkinsville and affected a western Kentucky trailer park. “We had to cut off gas lines and, of course, check on people and everything. But it’s quite overwhelming when you have that many people involved in a mass casualty situation,” said Maxwell.

Maxwell has two adult kids and three grandchildren living in western Kentucky. He said he stayed up all night Friday into Saturday, checking on them. He said everyone is alright. Maxwell noted he donates routinely and felt the need to give following the tragic events. The retired firefighter added he started giving blood in 1968 and has donated 26 gallons.

Here's more with Mike Maxwell:

4MIKEMAXWELL.mp3

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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