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20 years after 9/11, Kentucky Blood Center remembers outpouring of support

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Posted at 11:55 AM, Sep 10, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Photos help tell the story Martha Osborne will never forget. Hundreds of miles away from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, she watched as people showed up to the Kentucky Blood Center in Lexington to help how they could.

“Immediately they knew there might be a need for blood,” Osborne, who still works at KBC, told LEX 18. “We filled up, that moment on, for days.”

On 9/11 and the days after, thousands of people signed up to give blood at the location on Waller Avenue. Osborne still remembers their kindness and the way people leaned on each other.

Donors sat in line for up to four hours, she said, eating dinner and watching the news on CNN. Others who couldn’t give blood volunteered in other ways, including free massages for workers. One photo captures an LEX 18 crew interviewing people in line.

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“At that time we were so in shock, so devastated, and yet the public got together and figured out one thing they could do to help,” Osborne said.

Dan Pollock made an appointment on September 12, his first time ever donating blood. He didn’t mind the wait.

“A lot of other people came with the same mindset I had,” he said. “They just wanted to help. No one cared if they were waiting.”

Donating blood eventually became more personal for Pollock. His wife Kay needed blood transfusions before she died from cancer in 2002.

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9/11 “was something that helped kick me into doing it,” Pollock said.

20 years later, he’s given nearly 80 units of blood, and each pint is a reminder of the day that spurred thousands of Kentuckians into action.“Some days it feels like it just happened, other days feel like a lifetime ago,” he said.

Osborne hasn’t stopped her work either, continuously inspired by the people who were there on 9/11.

Friday and Saturday is the Kentucky Blood Center’s 20th annual Patriot Drive. You can find more information here.