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Northwest Blood Centers Help Las Vegas Victims, Seek More Donations

People donate blood in this file photo from The Associated Press.
John Raoux
Donors give blood in Orlando, after the mass shooting at a nightclub in 2016. Blood centers again put out the call for donations after the weekend shooting in Las Vegas.

One of the region’s largest blood banks is sending some of its supply to help victims of the shooting in Las Vegas.

On Sunday night, a gunman opened fire during a music festival where 58 people have died and more than 500 were injured.

Bloodworks Northwest is asking donors of all blood types to help replenish local supplies and help with the ongoing needs in Las Vegas.

Bloodworks CEO Dr. James AuBuchon says his organization aims to maintain a good inventory, but that large-scale events can quickly change what’s on hand.

“If that disaster of the same magnitude were to happen today in Seattle we would be hard pressed to have enough blood,” he said. “We’d have enough for the immediate needs, but the longer-term needs over the next several days, we’d probably have to turn to other blood centers in other parts of the country.”

That sharing of resources -- from organizations as big as the American Red Cross to local blood banks --  is common nationwide.

Blood center officials say there is always an ongoing need for donors, even without a major tragedy or disaster unfolding. And if you’re ineligible to give blood, they generally welcome donations of money and time.

“You know, only 5 percent of the population donates,” said Kara Jovag, of Cascade Regional Blood Services in Tacoma. “And most people that don’t donate will say that they don’t because no one ever asked. If you can’t donate, then you can always encourage other people to do so.”

Officials also say ongoing blood donations are critical because you never know where or when a disaster or tragedy will occur, and the need for blood can be immediate.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.