Orlando leaders donate blood to honor Pulse nightclub victims

Mayor Buddy Dyer encourages Central Floridians to donate

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dimetri Vassiliadis and Zeny Bautista remember what it was like five years ago when the Pulse nightclub mass shooting happened.

The two had actually donated blood for the first time just before the tragedy. Later, they learned their blood actually ended up saving lives.

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“Couple of months later I got a phone call from OneBlood saying my blood was used to help save a life during the tragedy. It was a little bit eerie because I didn’t expect something like that,” Vassiliadis said.

OneBlood brought its “Big Red Bus” to Orlando City Hall on Friday where local leaders, such as Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Sheriff John Mina, and Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon, teamed up to donate their blood too.

“This is the right thing to do again, this is what our community is all about,” Rolon said.

Dyer encouraged Central Floridians to donate blood in honor of the 49 people who lost their lives on June 12, 2016.

“Pulse was the most tragic event ever to happen in our community but five years later, I couldn’t be more proud of our community,” Dyer said.

Saturday will mark five years since the Pulse nightclub tragedy.

A large remembrance ceremony is taking place at the Pulse Interim Memorial at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

News 6 will have coverage on air and online on ClickOrlando.com.

About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!