Blood drive held for local Orlando shooting victim

Blood drive held for local Orlando shooting victim

A local effort took place Wednesday to help a Metairie native, critically wounded in the Orlando nightclub shooting. The Blood Center opened it's bus, to collect donations for Leo Melendez and his family.

While the 39-year-old is being treated in an Orlando hospital, after being shot in the head during the terror attack at the Pulse nightclub, New Orleanians are doing something here to assist his loved ones.

Paul Adams, with the Blood Center, explains, "Everybody who comes out and donates, will be able to give a financial donation to the family."

The Blood Center set up shop in the Central Business District, soliciting blood donations.    

Rick Viana says, "I figured not enough people are helping these days."

While the supply collected will be dispersed to area hospitals, the Blood Center will hand over money to the Melendez family for every person who says they're giving for Leo.

"The family is flying back and forth. He's still in the hospital, he's in a coma so anything can help," Adams explained.

Melendez's sister says he has good days and bad days, and the family is relying on their faith as they hope he recovers.

Many of the people who showed up, don't know Leo Melendez personally, but say they felt they needed to do something to help the victims.

Sharon Mezulis heard about the drive on Facebook, and drove right over, saying, "When you hear that its someone from where you're living that they have family here posting a Facebook event or friends or whoever posted it and its somebody who lives in your community or is from there, it just makes it personal."
The effort is helping not only Leo's family, but aids in the preparation in case of a disaster, like the Orlando shooting, happens here.

"Our hospitals wouldn't be able to handle that so it really, really is important to be a donor and to be a regular donor," Adams stated.  

If you missed your chance to give to the Melendez family Wednesday, you can head to any Blood Center location in the state and simply tell them you want to donate, for Leo.

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