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Dozens of lives saved thanks to donations at CBS Miami Blood Drive event

Dozens of lives saved thanks to CBS News Miami viewers
Dozens of lives saved thanks to CBS News Miami viewers 03:09

AVENTURA — There's a critical blood shortage across the country, but just one donation can impact three lives.

On Thursday, CBS News Miami teamed up with OneBlood and HCA Florida Healthcare to host two blood drive locations in Miami-Dade and Broward.

CBS News Miami's Lauren Pastrana reports from the OneBlood Drive In Aventura! 16:57

In all, 45 units were donated, which translates to 135 lives impacted or saved.

Pat Michaels with OneBlood explained the need to diversify the blood supply, particularly in South Florida.

"The thing we like to stress is that we want people from all walks of life. Because the blood supply should be as diverse as the community because we have to crossmatch to make sure we have the right blood for every individual," Michaels said. "There's all types of need for blood for routine surgeries, emergencies and also for people with, for example, sickle cell."

People who gave blood Thursday can do it again in 56 days. People who give only platelets can donate more often.

Those who are unable to donate can do their part by spreading awareness, hosting a blood drive, and promoting cardiovascular health.

"I tell my patients the same thing. You have lifestyle modifications, staying active, not smoking, so it's important to know your numbers, to know your cholesterol, to know your blood sugar and to go to your PCP," said Dr. Elianne Rojas with HCA Florida Healthcare. "There are silent killers. The thing about cardiovascular disease is they are silent and when it shows up there are changes that could have been made ahead of time to stop the progression.

All blood types are needed, but especially universal donors like O-, and people who are O+, who make up 38% of the population.

You'll have to answer some health questions and check your blood pressure and hemoglobin, but even if you've had health issues in the past, you may still be eligible, like Amarilys Oria, a cancer survivor.

"That's the first thing that I asked if I could donate having had cancer prior. And he said yes," she said. "So I want everybody to hear that it's possible, if you're not in treatment right now, go ahead and come and help other survivors or people that need it for whatever reason they might have."

Oria said she heard about the blood drives in Aventura and Plantation on CBS Miami.

She wanted to give in honor of a friend who is currently going through her own health battle.

CBS News Miami Anchor Lauren Pastrana donated as well. She said the entire process was quick and relatively painless.

If you're interested in donating in the future, click here to find upcoming "Big Red Bus" locations in your area.

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