AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The Coffee Memorial Blood Center (CMBC) is helping provide Zika relief to Puerto Rico residents.
Due to the Zika Virus many residents in Puerto Rico are not able to receive blood, so they are relying on the U.S. for help.
"The FDA has shut down their blood collections in Puerto Rico, so they're depending mainly on the U.S. to provide their blood needs in the province," said Joe McCormick, President and CEO of the Coffee Memorial Blood Center.
Because of this great need, the blood center is overnighting 106 liters -- or 28 gallons -- of blood to a nonprofit community blood center in Guaynabo.
"They can't continue taking care of patients without that blood supply, so it's a matter of life and death for them," McCormick said.
The supply consists of all blood types.
"The types are mixed according to the population there in Puerto Rico," McCormick said. "We're sending a total of 353 units and some of those are O negative, which we didn't have the total amount that they wanted so Oklahoma Blood Institute is helping us out with those O negatives."
The CMBC is not the first center to help.
"Several blood banks in the U.S. have already shipped blood to Puerto Rico and the Blood Centers of America is trying to spread that around the country so that no one is overly impacted, and of course some blood centers don't have it to send," McCormick said.
Typically the CMBC doesn't have an abundant supply of blood to help those outside the Panhandle, but since there is a little extra they are happy the Panhandle can help.
"For one thing we're fortunate to have enough of a good blood supply right now and we do have the units to spare," McCormick said. "Thanks to the giving folks in the Panhandle regions we're able to do that and I'm happy that we're able to do it."