Blood supplies dwindle during summer months

Practically empty shelves at blood bank Vitalant in Rapid City. (KEVN)
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - People might be out of town for their summer getaways, but the need for blood continues.

Vitalant in Rapid City needs about 450 units of whole blood on a daily basis, but right now its shelves are practically empty.

The national blood bank is bracing for a shortfall of nearly 8,500 blood donations during the Fourth of July week.

During the summer, more people are traveling, which usually means more accidents and traumatic incidents.

And with Sturgis Motorcycle Rally coming up, donor care specialists say the need for blood is incredibly high here in the Black Hills.

"Last year, just the day before Guns and Hoses, we had a gentleman that had to have an emergency liver transplant. One person. One surgery. It took 133 units of just red blood cells. That didn't include the plasma and the platelets so to be a part of knowing that saving that person's life, that's incredible," Suzette McCully says, a blood donor care specialist with Vitalant.

If you donate blood anywhere from July through Sept. 2, you can register to win one of four ATV vehicles.

Vitalant is open seven days a week.