Snow Closes Donor Centers, Blood Collections Fall Short

December 21, 2009

Lost Weekend Blood Collections and Coming Holiday Could Lead to Blood Shortage

Baltimore, MD – December 21, 2009:  The snowy weather this weekend caused nearly all Regional Blood Donor Centers and blood drives to close early or cancel on Saturday, and several other remained closed on Sunday.  In total, the Red Cross fell short by nearly 600 donations over the weekend, and additional losses are expected this week as some schools and business remain closed or on liberal leave.  The coming Christmas holiday increases the urgency to replenish the depleted supply as soon as possible, as collections are expected to be low at the end of this week. To help ensure that all patients receive the blood they need for survival, the GC&P Region is urging all eligible whole blood donors to call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE to schedule a donation appointment right away.  Platelet donors can call 1-800-272-2123 to schedule an appointment. 
"Despite the snow and ice, there are patients in our hospitals who will need blood and platelet transfusions this weekend, these types of procedures can not be delayed until after the holiday,” said Page Gambill, Director of Hospital Services for the GC&P Region.  “We lost a significant amount of blood and platelet donations this past weekend as a result of the weather; unfortunately those donations were the ones we needed for patients over the holiday. We need to make up for those losses this week.”  To help increase collections this week, the Red Cross is opening all donor centers one hour early through the New Year; donors can visit for updated information, or call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543).
As a special token of appreciation, all participants through the end of the year will receive a Red Cross ice scraper with a snow brush. There is no substitute for human blood, and local blood donors are the only lifeline for patients in need. 
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 younger than 19 years also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.  Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.
Members of the community are asked to call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE immediately to schedule an appointment to donate at any American Red Cross Donor Center or community blood drive.  Information about Regional Blood Donor Centers or community blood drive locations and times can be found at  Business and community groups that are willing to hold blood drives are asked to call 1-800-787-9282, x4925 for information.