Blood donors from around world line up to help Las Vegas victims

LAS VEGAS, Oct 3 (Reuters) - The woman from Nova Scotia, Canada, who slid into the backseat of Paul Hwangpo's car got right to the point: Take me to the nearest blood bank.

It was not a typical request for an Uber driver in America’s capital of gambling, all-you-can-eat buffets and spangled entertainment.

But it was no typical day.

It was the morning after 59 people were slain and more than 500 injured in gunfire that rained down on an open-air country music concert near Las Vegas' strip of neon-lit casinos.

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Blood donors from around world line up to help Las Vegas victims
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Blood donors from around world line up to help Las Vegas victims
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Las Vegas Residents line up around United Blood Services to donate after the mass shooting in Las Vegas , on October 02, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Doug Kranz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
United Blood Services donor recruiter Laura Alvarado speaks to reporters at a blood donor clinic following a mass shooting at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. Photo taken October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lisa Girion
A sign asking for blood donations on a marquee is shown following a mass shooting at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. Photo taken October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lisa Girion
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: People wait in line at United Blood Services to donate blood for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada allegedly opened fire on festival attendees from his room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino leaving at least 58 dead and over 500 injured before reportedly killing himself. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: People wait in line at United Blood Services to donate blood for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada allegedly opened fire on festival attendees from his room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino leaving at least 58 dead and over 500 injured before reportedly killing himself. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: People wait in line at United Blood Services to donate blood for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada allegedly opened fire on festival attendees from his room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino leaving at least 58 dead and over 500 injured before reportedly killing himself. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images)
Hundreds of people queue to donate blood following the mass shooting at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: United States Senator Dean Heller (left) donates blood at the United Blood Services in Northwest Las Vegas, NV on October 2, 2017, after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival near Mandalay Bay on October 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Doug Kranz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Pallets of donated water and sports drinks at United Blood Services in Northwest Las Vegas, NV on October 2, 2017, after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival near Mandalay Bay on October 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Doug Kranz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Hundreds of people queue to donate blood following the mass shooting at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Taylor Benge signing in at United Blood Services. Benge was at the concert with his sister. , on October 02, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Doug Kranz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Las Vegas residents donate blood at United Blood Services in Northwest Las Vegas, NV on October 2, 2017, after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival near Mandalay Bay on October 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Doug Kranz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Jeff Evans helping with trash detail at United Blood Services as he waits to donate blood. Evans has a friend who was shot in the leg at the event , on October 02, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Doug Kranz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Las Vegas Resident Amanda Long donates snacks and water at United Blood Services in Northwest Las Vegas, NV on October 2, 2017, after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival near Mandalay Bay on October 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, NV. Long, who missed the event for the first time in years, was woken up by family members calling from Alaska. She has about a dozen friends that attended the concert who she has not heard from. (Photo by Doug Kranz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Las Vegas
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The gunman, identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock who lived in a Nevada retirement home, ended Sunday night's shooting spree, the deadliest in modern U.S. history, by killing himself.

Hwangpo took the visitor from Nova Scotia to a blood donation place near the medical center where surgeons labored to repair organs battered and bones broken by bullets. She got in line with hundreds of other people who would wait hours to give what they could – a pint from the heart.

"That's solidarity," Hwangpo observed.

The queues outside Las Vegas blood donation centers were a reflection of the city – a place swelled daily by tens of thousands of tourists and conventioneers, all served by legions of immigrants driving cabs, cleaning rooms and tending bar.

Blood bank workers said they met donors from Arizona and California and as far away as China, Japan, Honduras, Venezuela, Brazil and Switzerland. Some from Mexico said it was a way to make up for being unable to contribute to the recovery from a disastrous earthquake there two weeks ago, said United Blood Services donor recruiter Laura Alvarado.

To accommodate the outpouring of goodwill, the blood bank organized a pop-up center nearby. The effort began before dawn the morning after the shooting. As their shifts ended at the UMC Trauma Center, hospital workers volunteered to scout a location, settling on a parking lot across the street.

"It started with a couple of tents and a sign-in sheet," Alvarado said.

By evening, there were two mobile buses, awnings, folding chairs and a steady supply of pizza, donuts and water donated by merchants.

Sal Messina went straight from the airport to a blood donation center.

"As soon as I landed, before the hotel, I told the cab driver, take me here," said Messina, a security officer and native Italian who flew in from his home in northern California for work meetings.

"It's the only way you can combat the insanity and evil in the world," Messina said.

In a typical day, hospitals in the Las Vegas area use about 300 units of blood products, which take a couple of days to test and prepare. In the hours immediately after the shooting, the bank sent 200 units to one hospital alone, UMC Trauma, which received the most critical patients.

"That left a pretty bare shelf," Alvarado said.

An appeal went out, which usually draws a bump in donations. But, within hours, more than 1,000 people had signed up.

Javier Wong, a restaurant worker who moved to Las Vegas from Panama 25 years ago, waited more than eight hours to give blood. He said he saw it as a way to support the victims the way his adopted home had supported him.

"I'm giving back," Wong said.

46 PHOTOS
Heartbreaking scenes from Las Vegas shooting vigils and memorial services
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Heartbreaking scenes from Las Vegas shooting vigils and memorial services
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 2: UNLV students reflect on words of wisdom dispersed during a candle light vigil for the victims of the mass shootings that killed 59 people and injured more than 525, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 2, 2017. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People hand out candles at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: Singers/Songwriters Alison Krauss and The Cox Family perform during Nashville Candelight Vigil For Las Vegas at Ascend Amphitheater on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People light candles at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
A woman mourns during an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
People mourn during an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
People mourn after an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: Sophie Cass, 10, hands out candles at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: The Rev. Paul Goulet (L) and the Rev. David Shearin light candles during a prayer vigil outside Las Vegas City Hall in response to Sunday's mass shooting on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A lone gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 1 leaving 59 dead and hundreds wounded. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: A stack of #VegasStrong flyers are displayed during a prayer vigil outside Las Vegas City Hall in response to Sunday's mass shooting on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A lone gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 1 leaving 59 dead and hundreds wounded. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather during a candlelight vigil for victims of the Las Vegas shooting at Ascend Amphitheater on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather during a candlelight vigil for victims of the Las Vegas shooting at Ascend Amphitheater on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: General view during Nashville Candelight Vigil For Las Vegas at Ascend Amphitheater on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Dominic De Patta of Nevada holds a candle and a #VegasStrong flyer during a prayer vigil outside Las Vegas City Hall in response to Sunday's mass shooting on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A lone gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 1, leaving 59 dead and hundreds wounded. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather during a candlelight vigil for victims of the Las Vegas shooting at Ascend Amphitheater on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
People mourn after an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A girl attends an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Pastor William McCurdy (C) attends a prayer vigil, in honor of those affected by the shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, in front of Las Vegas City Hall in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus
People mourn during an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 2: UNLV students and their families gather during a candle light vigil for the victims of the mass shootings that killed 59 people and injured more than 525, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 2, 2017. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 2: A UNLV student reflects on the message given during a candle light vigil for the victims of the mass shootings that killed 59 people and injured more than 525, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 2, 2017. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: The Rev. David Shearin (L) and the Rev. Mike Hatch hold candles as they pray during a prayer vigil outside Las Vegas City Hall in response to Sunday's mass shooting on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A lone gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 1 leaving 59 dead and hundreds wounded. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather during a candlelight vigil for victims of the Las Vegas shooting at Ascend Amphitheater on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Jon Dimaya (C) of Nevada, a rapid response team nurse at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, and his sons Ethan Dimaya (L) and Gryffin Dimaya (R) hold signs during a prayer vigil outside Las Vegas City Hall in response to Sunday's mass shooting on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A lone gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 1, leaving 59 dead and hundreds wounded. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
A man mourns during an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Alexander Wells, 9, attends a prayer vigil, in honor of those affected by the shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, in front of Las Vegas City Hall in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners light candles during a vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 2: UNLV students reflect on words of wisdom dispersed during a candle light vigil for the victims of the mass shootings that killed 59 people and injured more than 525, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 2, 2017. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: A music group performs during a vigil at Guardian Angel Cathedral for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival shootings on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lone gunman Stephan Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada opened fire on festival attendees leaving at least 59 dead and over 500 injured before killing himself. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: A woman touches a staue of the Blessed Mother Mary during a vigil at Guardian Angel Cathedral for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival shootings on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lone gunman Stephan Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada opened fire on festival attendees leaving at least 59 dead and over 500 injured before killing himself. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: A vigil on the Las Vegas strip for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival shootings on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lone gunman Stephan Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada opened fire on festival attendees leaving at least 59 dead and over 500 injured before killing himself. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Aryanna Williams, 6, and Mickey Deustch, 8, of Las Vegas, Nevada attend a vigil on the Las Vegas strip for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival shootings on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lone gunman Stephan Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada opened fire on festival attendees leaving at least 59 dead and over 500 injured before killing himself. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A sign is pictured at a vigil on the Las Vegas strip following a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. Picture taken October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
A police officer writes a message on a sign at a vigil on the Las Vegas strip following a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. Picture taken October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
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The need was met by donors who gave up a day of a vacation or a day off work. The Millers, Don and Kimberly, from Chicago, waited in a blood donation line much of the day.

"You don't feel very much like vacationing when something like this happens," Kimberly said. "You've got to do something."

As the sun began to go down, Doris Diaz sat in metal folding chairs. They had been there since before lunch and were happy to wait.

Diaz, a retired airport manager who has lived in Las Vegas for 40 years, summed up the scene: "There's a lot of heart here."

(Reporting by Lisa Girion; Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Grant McCool)

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