BLOG: Be a helper. Donate blood

Katherine Ranzenberger
York Dispatch

A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub early Sunday, killing at least 50 people before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Hundreds of volunteers line up to donate blood at OneBlood Center after the late night shooting at Pulse, an Orlando night club, Sunday, June 12, 2016, in Orlando. A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a crowded Florida nightclub before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police say. The attack left at least 50 people dead, making it the worst mass shooting in American history. (Zack Wittman/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Orlando didn't deserve to lose so many precious lives this weekend.

No one ever deserves to be killed by someone who hates them just because of who they are. Hate and fear of the unknown, whether it's an experience or a type of people, can spread quickly.

However, watching people in Orlando come together and spread love to drown out that fear and hate is incredible. Watching the residents come together to donate blood in this time of need for the more than 50 victims of this shooting is awesome in the actual meaning of the word.

There have been reports that people actually have filled the blood banks and are being asked to come back later this week because the banks don't have enough storage area right now.

Whenever tragedies happen, Fred Rogers comes to mind.

He once said: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."

These residents coming together in Orlando are those helpers Mr. Rogers' mom told him about. There are so, so many caring people in this world who care for complete strangers and friends alike. They surround us every day.

We should take a page out of the Orlando community's book right now and come together to support those in our community who need help with blood donations.

In the last week, we've had multiple shootings and car crashes that have left people injured. Those are typically injuries that might need a blood transfusion, something that only we can help with because we can offer our blood to help.

I've been a blood donor since 2009. I do it often because I'm a universal donor and I know I can help save three lives by giving a pint of my blood and maybe an hour of my time.

This is something nearly everyone can do to help their community. Some people might be scared to try it, but really, it's a very rewarding feeling, sitting down at that snack table and opening up a juice after giving blood. You know you're helping someone continue living.

There are several blood drives held by the American Red Cross this month. The next one is from noon to 5:30 p.m. on June 17 at Lowe's, 1175 Carlisle Road. To find a drive near you, visit the American Red Cross website.

Be that helper in this world. Be that helper in this community. You never know what kind of a difference you'll make for someone.

— Reach Katherine Ranzenberger at or on Twitter at @YDKatherine.

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