SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An event that will help save lives is underway in Sioux Falls.

The Flying For Life Blood Drive started its week-long journey Monday outside the KELOLAND TV studio.

“We need blood every single day. We go through over 500-600 units every week, so it’s something that we need all the time,” Community Blood Bank Program Coordinator Lauri Hoffmann said.

Community Blood Bank provides blood to about 30 hospitals in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. Program Coordinator Lauri Hoffmann says the arrival of summer means an increase in demand.

“Unfortunately, we get more car accidents, more traumas, and things of that nature so the need for blood does go up,” Hoffmann said.

The ‘Flying For Life’ Blood Drive is also a competition between Avera Careflight and Sanford AirMed.

“We love this competition, it’s been growing every year. Everybody benefits from this competition,” Hoffmann said.

“You feel like you’re contributing something for the people that need the care,” Sioux Falls resident Ken Reuter said

Ken Reuter has given nearly seven gallons of blood over the past four decades. He’s donating today for Sanford Airmed, and for good reason.

“My sister was on the air flight in 1998 that crashed,” Reuter said.

Missy Wittry was one of three people to die in the Sioux Valley helicopter crash in August 1998.

“The job that she had, she loved and she never would have changed. It was a loss, but she did what she loved and she helped others,” Reuter said.

And it’s one of the reasons Ken continues to give blood.

“The fact that people in the hospitals need blood, I think it’s important for those of us who can give to give,” Reuter said.

The Flying For Life Blood Drive runs through Saturday, including stops at Avera McKennan Fitness Center and Tinner’s Public House in Sioux Falls on Tuesday.