Snowy Forecast Leaves Blood Supply Vulnerable

December 18, 2009

American Red Cross Warns that Snowy Weather Will Impact Blood Donations, Asks Donors to Schedule Appointments Prior to Holiday

Baltimore, MD – December 18, 2009: Snow and icy weather in the forecast for today through Sunday could seriously hamper blood collections in the Region. Combined with the coming holiday week, when donations typically decline, the blood supply could be vulnerable for a shortage. Often, winter weather prevents many people from making or keeping blood donation appointments. Because the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac (GC&P) Region needs to collect nearly 1000 donations every day, just one day of reduced collections can have a serious effect on the availability of blood for transfusion. 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.
“Over the next few days we could see cancellations and low show rates at many of our blood drives and donor centers due to the weather,” said Tracy Scott, Director of Donor Strategy for the GC&P Region. “When donation rates drop, the community blood supply can diminish quickly, and we need the support of the community to ensure that we collect enough blood over the next few days to meet patient need, despite the winter weather forecast. That is why we are declaring the next several days Snow Donor Days, and are offering all participants a special gift for their dedication to saving lives in our community” The Red Cross does not close due to foul weather, and the Region is planning on opening all donor centers for normal hours throughout the weekend.

As a special token of appreciation, all participants Saturday and Sunday will receive $5 Gourmet Coffee gift card as a special Snow Donor thank you gift that will be mailed following their participation. In addition, all participants through the end of the year will also 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. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543).

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.
Contact: Katie McGuire, Director of Marketing and Communications 410-764-4617; mobile 443-271-8550