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      You could save a life

      According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.

      Yet, less than 10 percent of the population actually donates.

      "It makes me feel good knowing that donating blood can help save someone's life," said Ashley Sylvester, blood donor.

      Ashley says she's been donating blood since she was 16, every eight weeks.

      She's a nursing student at Northern Michigan University, and knows how important it is to give blood.

      But she has other reasons for donating, as well.

      Her mother was hit by a car at ten years old.

      "She was in a coma for two months. So she had to get a lot of different blood transfusions and everything. So if it wasn't for people donating their blood, she probably wouldn't be here,' said Sylvester.

      The U.P. Regional Blood Center says they are constantly in need of blood donations, especially during the summer months.

      The center needs at least 250 pints of blood a week in order to keep up supply.

      But unfortunately, that doesn't happen often.

      Sallie Coron says only about 5% of the U.P. Population donates.

      "We don't sell our blood to the patient, we take care of them. All of our blood is donated, and donated blood is something you just can't go out and buy, you can't manufacture it, go get it off a shelf. You have to get it from volunteer blood donors all across the U.P.," said Coron.

      The center supplies 13 U.P. Hospitals with blood, and depend totally on volunteers to donate.

      Coron says they don't pay for blood, because they do not want to charge the patient in need for blood.

      Another reason; They want donors who honestly want to come in to help others.

      "You never know if it's going to be you. Or your mom or your dad or your grandma who needs blood, and it can only come from volunteer blood donors," said Coron.

      Coron says if the general population came in every eight weeks to donate blood, there would never be a critical need for specific types.

      Right now, the center has a critical need for A negative and O negative blood types.

      But A positive, B positive, B negative, and O positive are also below the optimum level of supply.

      AB positive and AB negative are always needed, but are not in crisis at this time.

      As for Sylvester, she says she will continue to give as often as possible.

      "It can help save lives and I like knowing that I can be the reason that someone's little kid or someone's grandparent could be alive right now," said Sylvester.

      The American Red Cross says around 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate.

      If you would like to donate, you must be 17 years old, or 16 with parental consent, at least 110 pounds, and in good health.

      There is also a short questionaire that you fill out right before donation, with some personal questions, which help the blood technicians determine if your blood would be considered safe to adminster to patients in need.

      To find out more about blood donation, click here.

      To find out more about the U.P. Regional Blood Center, click here.