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Winter weather creates increased need for blood donations


February 18, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (Feb. 18, 2014) — Inclement weather throughout January and into February has forced the cancellation of hundreds of American Red Cross blood drives from coast to coast.

This year, 1,500 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled in 34 states because of snow and freezing temperatures, resulting in 50,000 uncollected blood donations. The recent winter storm, Pax, caused 400 blood drive cancellations and 13,500 lost donations throughout the south and on the East Coast. The number of blood drive cancellations in 2014 is the equivalent of the Red Cross having to shut down its national operations for more than three full days.

“The Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood every day to help patients in need across the country, including here in Iowa and Wisconsin,” said Greg Novinska, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Badger-Hawkeye Blood Services Region. “Regardless of the weather, patients are counting on blood products to be there when needed.”

Red Cross blood donations were down about 10 percent in January compared to their four-year average, and now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals literally as quickly as donations are coming in. All blood types are needed to enable the Red Cross to restock the shelves at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country, and there’s an urgent need for types O negative, O positive, A negative and B negative. Type O negative is the universal blood type, meaning it likely can be transfused to anyone. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to patients with types Rh positive and Rh negative.

How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. 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 (16 with parental consent in some states), 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.

About the American Red Cross
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. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.