Recovery 2011: Local Red Cross calling for eligible donors to help the blood supply recover from effects of severe winter weather
With the latest round of severe winter storms, the Heart of America Blood Services region has been forced to cancel almost 40 blood drives resulting in a shortfall of more than 1,250 blood donations in the Heart of America region, which includes Central and northern Illinois, eastern Iowa and eastern Missouri, since January 1, 2011.
Further compounding the issue, this storm was so massive that many Red Cross blood drives in other parts of the country were also cancelled. The total number of blood donations uncollected due to winter storms since January 1 has risen to more than 28,000.
“At any given moment, patients rely on lifesaving blood products. The need is constant – even during severe weather situations,” said Shelly Heiden, CEO for the Heart of America Blood Services region of the Red Cross. “The quickest help will come from local blood donors who are able to travel safely to a nearby blood drive or donor center and give blood in the days and weeks ahead.”
People are asked to make and keep an appointment to give blood or platelets by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visiting redcrossblood.org. All blood types are needed, but there is a special need for donors with type O negative, A negative and B negative blood.
The Red Cross distributes blood products to approximately 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the United States. People have been responding to the call for blood donors, and the Red Cross is grateful to those who are stepping up to donate blood to help the blood supply recover and return to sufficient levels. A list of blood drives throughout the region that are scheduled to help recover the uncollected blood can be found at the end of this news release.
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 permission 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
Governed by volunteers and supported by giving individuals and communities, the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red Cross also helps ensure no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it. In addition to providing nearly half of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.