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Red Cross Calls for Blood and Platelet Donations After Severe Winter Weather Impacts Collections

Southern California Blood Services Region

January 8, 2014

Urgent need for platelet donors, blood donors with types O, A negative and B negative

Los Angeles, CA. (January 9, 2014) — The American Red Cross is asking eligible Southland blood and platelet donors to help offset the weather-related shortfall in donations across neighboring states and throughout many areas in the country affected by the polar vortex.

Approximately 300 blood drives across 25 states were canceled due to snow, extreme cold, and harsh travel conditions. The blood drive cancellations resulted in a shortfall of nearly 8,800 blood and platelet donations since January 2, 2014.

Residents in sunny Southern California can help boost donations immediately and help ensure blood is available where needed. Locally, the Red Cross is boosting capacity at its 11 Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego Blood Donor Centers and adding hundreds of additional appointment slots over the next few days.

“Thanks to our dedicated blood and platelet donors, our community blood supply levels have remained stable for local patients in need of transfusions,” said Darrin Greenlee, CEO of the American Red Cross Southern California Blood Services Region. “Now it’s our turn to reciprocate and help ensure blood products are on the shelf, ready to ship to areas hardest hit by the storms – the same communities that come to our rescue every time we face debilitating local blood shortages.”

Platelet donors, as well as blood donors with the most in-demand blood types — O positive and negative, A negative and B negative — are urgently needed to give blood in the days and weeks ahead to offset the shortfall.

Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are constantly needed. Red blood cells, the oxygen carrying component of blood, are the most widely transfused blood product and must be transfused within 42 days.

How to donate blood

For more information or to schedule your appointment, simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or schedule online. 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 CA), 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.