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The Kentucky Blood Center in Louisville. (Tom Round/WDRB photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Blood Center celebrated a big milestone on Sunday.

The nonprofit just marked 55 years of saving lives.

The center started in 1968 in the basement of a pancake house in Lexington, only serving six hospitals in the immediate area. But over the years, the KBC has expanded to serve more than 70 hospitals throughout the commonwealth.

KBC provides more than 2,000 mobile donation opportunities across the state, including at schools, businesses and churches.

More than 400 donors a day are needed to provide a healthy and current blood supply to area hospitals.

One donation saves up to three lives, but supplies have been slipping during and after the pandemic. 

"As KBC's operations have grown, so too has the need for blood. We need 400 donors daily to provide a healthy blood supply to our hospitals," Bill Reed, president and CEO of KBC, said in a news release. "I want to challenge our community to step up and ensure that we can continue to do what we've done for nearly six decades: save Kentucky lives."

Donors need to be at least 17, or 16 with parental consent and a signed permission slip, to give blood. They must also weigh at least 110 pounds and be "in general good health." An ID card is also required to donate.

Walk-in donations are accepted, but appointments are encouraged.

To schedule an appointment at a KBC location, click here or call 800-775-2522.

To look at upcoming blood drives, click here.

The KBC has locations in Louisville, Lexington, Corbin, Frankfort, Pikeville and Somerset.

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