Ongoing severe winter weather has more than doubled the number of canceled American Red Cross blood drives and the resulting blood and platelet donation shortfall since earlier this month. The Red Cross now considers the situation critical and is reissuing an urgent call for blood and platelet donors.
More than 550 blood drives have been forced to cancel due to winter weather in January, causing over 16,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected through last week.
“Blood and platelet donations are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in,” said Clifford Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Donors are critically needed to restock the shelves for patients in their community as well as areas where donors are unable to give due to inclement weather.”
Escalon will host a blood drive on Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Christian Reformed Church, 2203 California St.
Also available, in neighboring Oakdale, a drive will be hosted on Thursday, Feb. 8 at the Gene Bianchi Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Every day, no matter the weather, the Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations to meet the needs of patients like Finnegan “Finn” Olson. Last January, Finn was born with a rare heart condition. He required multiple transfusions before, during and after heart transplant surgery last summer. Transfusions had an almost immediate effect on his personality and skin’s appearance.
“Each time Finn received a transfusion, you could see him pink up right away and have significantly more energy,” said his mother, Ali Olson. “We credit blood donations with making Finn stronger and helping keep him alive long enough to receive a new heart. Finn is living proof that blood helps save lives.”
Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Volunteer transportation specialists play a very important role in ensuring an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position, visit rdcrss.org/driver.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. For more information, visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit them on Twitter at @RedCross.