FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --We are less than 48 hours away from the start of the Pint for Pint Blood Drive benefiting the Central California Blood Center.
"You could have one accident that could really wipe out our entire blood supply. We really just don't know," said Dean Eller, President, and CEO of Central California Blood Center.
Blood centers nationwide are calling for donors amid one of the largest shortages they've faced in years.
"We need about 250 to 350 pints of blood every day just to meet our basic needs," said Eller.
The Central California Blood Center is stressing how just one donation, depending on how it's used, can save or prolong up to three lives.
"Whether it keeps them alive for a lifetime or an hour or two in the emergency room, you can't realize what it means to those families and the solace it gives them," said Eller.
Eller knows from personal experience-- his late daughter fought leukemia for nearly four years.
"You can tell almost immediately after getting a blood donation how it's doing in their body. You can go from low energy and lethargic to more energy and able to function. It is a miraculous thing to see," said Eller.
Blood donations are good for 42 days.
"They never make it that far. Most blood centers, including us, have usually no more than a 3 to 5 day supply of blood," said Eller.
Once a donation is made at the California Blood Center, it goes to the lab where it's tested, processed, sorted, typed, and labeled over a two day period. It then goes out to the 31 hospitals in Fresno, Tulare, Kings, Merced and Mariposa Counties.
Only seven-percent of the nation has O- blood, but because it's a universal blood type it has the highest demand. But the blood center said it needs all types.
"You can have the best hospitals and the best physicians that money can buy, but if you don't have blood the patient dies," said Eller.
You can cool off while donating at the Pint for Pint Blood Drive this Friday and Saturday at one of the five locations in Fresno, Clovis, and Visalia.