HANOVER TWP., Pa. - Miller-Keystone Blood Center officials said they are on standby to send blood to Las Vegas and they're starting to see a steady stream of people coming out to donate because they want some way to help.
"I said well, instead of going to the gym I'm going to go donate blood," said Ralph Brewer.
In his lifetime, Brewer has donated nine gallons of blood. He said after hearing about the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Miller-Keystone Blood Center in Hanover Township was the first place he went Monday morning.
"It's the easiest way to save somebody's life. It's that simple," he said.
Miller-Keystone officials said Las Vegas blood centers are able to handle the initial need.
"What we ask for is blood. That is the main thing right now," said Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.
But wait-times in Las Vegas blood centers are up to two hours, and that blood has to be processed before it can be used.
Blood centers across the country have been put on standby to help steady the potential ripple effect this large-scale incident could create.
"There are major centers in certain areas that have huge inventories and they will send them to affected areas and then smaller centers will backfill that," said Dr. Kip Kuttner of Miller-Keystone Blood Center.
Miller-Keystone said local organizations are inquiring about blood drives and people on social media are asking how they can help.
"I can't bend my mind around it," said Christine Espinoza.
Espinoza hasn't donated since 2011. She said even though she knows her blood will stay local for now, donating helps her cope with the tragedy in Las Vegas.
"I feel like it's a way of helping. Whether or not it affects them directly, I did something for someone and hopefully those people turn around and do that...kind of like the whole pay-it-forward thing," she said.
Miller-Keystone said it hasn't seen two-hour lines for blood donations since September 11, and many of its regular donors gave recently to help fill the need created by the hurricanes.
If you would like to donate, you can give Miller-Keystone a call and make an appointment at the one closest to you.
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