URBANA, Ill., (WCIA) — When donating blood, you never know who you may be helping. It might be someone’s best friend, maybe your next-door neighbor. Whoever it is, organizers with the Impact Life organization said they need blood every day.

Teri McCarthy, a donor relations consultant with Impact Life, said the need for blood is constant, she calls it medicine.

“It is specific medicine that is needed for hospital patients in need,” she added.

McCarthy said 20% of their donations are for people fighting cancer, something personal to her because of a friend’s granddaughter named Eleanor.

Eleanor had a rare childhood cancer before she was two years old, and needed regular transfusions. Now, she’s cancer free because of the help from donors.

Jim Watts, the donor relations manager at Impact Life, said they also have to be ready for the unexpected.

“If a trauma comes in or we have a mass transfusion protocol at a local hospital, that’s going to deplete our stock quickly,” Watts said.

Impact Life supplies blood to nearly 60 hospitals across Central Illinois.

“Throughout our organization, we need to provide over 3,000 red blood cells every single week,” Watts added.

He said it’s vital they keep their numbers up. Platelets have a 5-day shelf life, and red blood cells 42.

Watts said right now, they’re at a critical level and need all types of blood every day.

McCarthy said it’s more important than ever to roll up their sleeves during this time of year. Typically, the number of donations goes down.

“People tend to get busy with all of their holiday preparations and things like that, and don’t necessarily think about donating blood,” McCarthy said.

But, Watts wants people to remember that blood is going to someone they may never know.

Anyone 16 and older can donate blood, there’s no upper age limit.

WCIA 3 is partnering with Impact Life for the WCIA 3 Gift of Life blood drive from Dec. 26 to Dec. 30 at various locations throughout Central Illinois.

It’s honoring the memories of Dave Benton and Robert Reese, two beloved WCIA 3 family members who relied on blood donations in their fights against cancer.

For a link to those locations and a signup form, visit this link.