Lufkin blood donors step up following West disaster

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - After last night's fertilizer plant explosion in West, people have been wanting to find ways to donate. Locally, blood platelets are needed.

"Anytime there are trauma instances, blood is usually needed," said Tamera Billiot, the supervisor of Blood Center of East Texas.

Even though the explosion in West does not fall in the area covered by the Blood Center of East Texas, they agreed to send platelets to Austin to help with the treatment of those injured in the explosion.

"It will replenish what was used," Billiot said. "So that will help make sure the local patients here have what they need."

At the Lufkin donation center, donations were slow all morning long. But by noon, donors started coming in to help, including one that had already planned on coming in before the explosion.

"Because right now, our supplies are low," Missy Purvis said.

Purvis is a lifetime donor and already had an appointment scheduled to give red blood cells, but changed it to platelets because of one thing.

"Because it saves lives," Purvis said.

Two nursing students later walked in. After being inspired by reading an initial story on the KTRE mobile app.

"It's for a good cause and people need it," said Laura Lonergin.

"If anything would happen here, I would hope that other people would give and help us out," said Ashley Cartwright.

And the outpouring of giving does not surprise those with the Blood Center.

"We have a great community and great donors and they want to help anyway they can," Billiot said.

The Blood Center will be open Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m to 2 p.m.

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