RALEIGH, N.C. — Members of the community are finding ways to help those affected by the devastating tornado outbreak over the weekend in eight states, including Kentucky. One blood center in Raleigh is helping out by sending blood to those most in need.


What You Need To Know

One blood center in Raleigh sent blood to trauma care for tornado victims across the Midwest

Emily Windoft donated blood at the Blood Connection to lend a hand to those most in need

It is safe to donate blood if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19


Emily Windoft, 28, has been donating blood at the Blood Connection for about a year. This visit is different, though. She’s answering the call put out on the center’s social media asking for more blood donations to help tornado victims across the Midwest.

“It feels good to know that you’re able to help out where you can, especially since you know we’re not really local to the area there,” Windoft said. “So it’s doing what we can while we’re a little bit farther away.”

The Blood Connection sent blood to Nashville, Tennessee, as part of the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps. From there, the life-saving blood went to trauma care for victims in the hardest-hit states. And, if there’s a further need, Windoft’s blood supply may be sent to help more victims.

“With donating blood, I do it throughout the year. It’s good to know that you’re helping in general, but to help out in such a time of need,” Windoft said. “It really helps to know that you’re helping not just your local community, but people across the country, too.”

The entire process takes about 45 minutes. Windoft has family that works in health care, which is why it’s important for her to give back. The horrifying images from Kentucky and beyond inspire Windoft to lend a hand.

“It seems more like you’re watching a movie or something because I can’t even imagine what that would be like to actually be experiencing that,” she said.

The Blood Connection has mobile units out seven days a week, in addition to the Raleigh location. You have to be at least 17 years old to donate; 16-year-olds may donate with parental consent.

The staff at the center recommend coming in to find out if you’re healthy enough to donate. You may be able to donate if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or certain types of cancers (depending on when you were diagnosed, the grade and treatment plan). More importantly, you can still donate if you have had any of the COVID-19 vaccines.