The American Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood and platelet donations in response to a shortage brought on by the winter season.
Red Cross Blood Services president, Chris Hrouda, said winter conditions such as snow storms, icy roads and seasonal illness often result in a decrease in donations during these months.
Hrouda said, “This further exasperates our already depleted blood supply from over the holidays. We are working every day to restock hospitals shelves with lifesaving blood products for patients and right now, we need all healthy, eligible individuals to give blood and platelets as soon as possible to ensure we can meet patient needs.”
Low donor turnout due to hectic holiday schedules and winter weather resulted in the Red Cross collecting 27,000 fewer blood and platelet donations during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s than needed.
According to the Red Cross, blood and platelet donors save lives such as that of one and a half year-old Luna Giles. In the just the first fragile year of her life, Giles has had two heart surgeries that required over a dozen blood transfusions and she will likely need more blood products for additional surgeries in her future.
The Red Cross said, “Luna is not alone in her need for lifesaving blood products. Patients rely on blood and platelets every day for accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. Blood products are perishable, and the only source of lifesaving blood for patients is volunteer blood donors.”
The Red Cross is encouraging those eligible to donate, particularly blood type O, to schedule an appointment to give as soon as possible. You can do so by downloading the free app, American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
If you are unable to donate but still wish to help you can host or sponsor a blood drive in your community. For more information on hosting or sponsoring a blood drive, visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.
-Story by Kelly Fletcher, MTN Reporter