CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Illinois may be hundreds of miles away from Hurricane Ian’s path, but people in the state have a chance to provide relief to the region in the form of blood donations.

“You’re actually helping out somebody who don’t necessarily see and that’s exactly what we’re doing with this BERC program,” Teri McCarthy with ImpactLife said.

Hospitals and blood providers in Florida are requesting support from other parts of the country. ImpactLife, an Iowa-based provider that serves Central Illinois, is taking part in the effort.

The organization has already sent a shipment of 20 units of Type O red blood cells, which was delivered before the storm began.

“We’re responding to a request that came to us from Florida to a national organization that ImpactLife is a part of,” Kirby Winn with ImpactLife said.

“We expect donors in the affected region will be unable to give blood when the hurricane hits, either due to power outages, evacuations, or sheltering in place,” said Mike Parejko, Chief Executive Officer of ImpactLife. “We know blood components will be needed for ongoing patient care in the region, and we are glad to join other blood providers around the U.S. in responding to this need.”

Donations collected in the following days will either go to Florida for hurricane relief or stay in Illinois to support local hospitals, the latter of which will receive priority. People wishing to donate can schedule an appointment at one of ImpactLife’s fixed or mobile donation centers.

 “We want to support their effort because in turn they will support us in the case of a natural disaster as well,” McCarthy said.

“We are asking all potential blood donors and our blood drive coordinators to help us answer the call,” said Amanda Hess, Vice President, Donor Relations and Marketing. “We will need to increase our donations this week and next to continue meeting local needs while also supporting the region affected by Hurricane Ian.”

People who donate before Nov. 13 will receive a voucher to redeem for an electronic gift card or an ImpactLife mug. More information about promotions can be found here.