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Not yet Halloween, but blood is needed now!

KOMO Photo

SEATTLE -- Giving blood is truly a life-saving gesture, but this activity is not always top of mind.

Every pint of blood can save three lives because it’s separated and divided for different purposes.

Richard Selenis was giving blood inside a mobile blood drive outside his office, but he didn't start donating until last year.

“But I guess it's something always wanted to do but I just never did it so,” said Selenis.

Now that he’s started, Selenis said he’s a regular.

“You know it's something good; it's something that's worthwhile and simple, so I just do it,” Selenis said.

He is now part of a minority in this country. Only 40 percent of the population is eligible to give and of those eligible donors, only 10 percent actually do.

A quick, easy screening determines that eligibility.

So why is such a minority, providing the blood supply for everyone?

“I think it's a lack of awareness of how much blood we need,” said Larry Shaw with Bloodworks Northwest.

Blood is needed for trauma, surgeries, cancer patients and more.

“We serve 100 hospitals in the Pacific Northwest and we need over 900 people a day to donate to maintain a safe (supply)," said Shaw.

He compares it to an emergency. If you call 911, you expect first responders to be there for you. Right now, the emergency is in Florida.

Hurricane Michael wiped out the ability to collect blood in areas hit by the storm, so Bloodworks sent 15 units to them. Shaw is now asking people to donate over the next 72 hours and become regular donors.

“Rather than reacting to an emergency that you see on the news, pick two or three days a year that are important to you so maybe you donate in honor of someone in your life,” said Shaw.

If this became a habit for people, Shaw said they'd likely be in a better supply situation year-round.

There are many locations throughout the region to donate blood. To find one near you, just go to Bloodworks Northwest.

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