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Weather Forces Coast-to-Coast Red Cross Blood Drive Cancellations

Greater Ozarks-Arkansas

February 12, 2014
 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Severe winter weather throughout January and into February has forced the cancellation of American Red Cross blood drives from coast to coast.

From January 2 through February 10, more than 1,000 Red Cross blood drives in 34 states and Washington, D.C. have been canceled, resulting in about 35,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. The extraordinary number of cancellations is the equivalent of the Red Cross having to shut down its national operations for more than two full days.

“On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 units of blood every day to help patients nationwide,” said Scott Caswell, CEO of the Red Cross Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Region.  “Regardless of the weather, patients are counting on blood products to be there when needed.”

Nationwide, donations in January 2014 were down about 10 percent when you average typical January donations since 2011. Blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as donations come in. All blood types are needed to help restock Red Cross shelves.

Here in the Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Region, about two dozen blood drives have been canceled since the beginning of the year, resulting in a shortfall of more than 600 uncollected blood and platelet donations in this area.

There is an urgent need for type O negative, O positive, B negative and A negative blood. Type O negative is universal and can likely be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to patients with either Rh positive or negative blood.

Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, are also urgently needed. Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are constantly needed.

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. 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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.