Printable Version

Red Cross Urges Immediate Blood and Platelet Donations

Northern California Blood Services Region

August 31, 2011

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region is now urging immediate blood and platelet donations.

The Red Cross has already had to cancel more than 72 blood drives along the East Coast due to Hurricane Irene, resulting in the shortfall of more than 2,400 units of blood.  In addition, hundreds of blood and platelet donors have been unable to make their scheduled donation appointments because of storm-related issues.  And local blood drive cancellations because of power outages continue to impede Red Cross operations along the East Coast this week. 

The Red Cross is moving blood products to the areas affected by Hurricane Irene so that these products will be available in locations where blood cannot be collected.  If people will make an appointment to donate blood in the upcoming days and weeks, blood will be available should conditions continue to prohibit people in some parts of the country from traveling or coming to blood drives.

“Since the Bay Area is no stranger to natural disaster, we expect strong local response to Hurricane Irene,” said Jeff Meyer, CEO, American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region.  “If you are asking yourself what can you do 3,000 miles away, the answer is simple.  Please donate to the American Red Cross.  During this time of need, we all need to do whatever we can to help.”

The Red Cross has an urgent and very critical need for platelet donors.  Eligible platelet donors are asked to schedule a donation as soon as possible.  Platelets are commonly used for patients undergoing cancer treatment, trauma victims and many other hospital patients.  Since platelets have a shelf-life of just five days, it is imperative that there are enough platelets on-hand to meet the needs of local hospital patients.

Nationwide, around 44,000 blood donations are needed every day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients, and children with blood disorders.  Every two seconds, someone in America needs a blood transfusion.  These patients and others rely on blood products during their treatment. 

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or click here.  Eligible platelet donors should call 1-888-881-0988.  Please be aware the Red Cross anticipates unusually high call volume during the next several days from those directly affected by the hurricane and you may experience long delays.

The cost of the Red Cross disaster relief response will be millions.  People who can help are encouraged to click, text or call to donate to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.  Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.  Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.