American Red Cross announces emergency donor appeal; Immediate blood and platelet donations needed

September 15, 2011

(Johnstown, PA and Huntington, WV) – American Red Cross officials state that blood inventories have reached the lowest levels in years, prompting this area’s Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region to announce an emergency donor appeal.

            The American Red Cross is urging immediate blood and platelet donations to improve declining blood inventory levels. All blood types are needed, but types O positive and A positive are experiencing particularly high demand.

            “We are nearing a potential crisis for patients at the more than 90 hospitals we serve,” stated John Hagins, CEO.  “We’ve not seen the usual post-Labor Day rebound in donor turnout. As a direct result, blood inventories have continued to drop as patients’ needs increase. Without your help, patients are at risk for not receiving the transfusions they need.”

            Recent weather is a contributing factor. Dozens of blood drives up and down the east coast have been cancelled in the wake of Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and other storms, resulting in the shortfall of several thousand blood donations.

            Hagins emphasized that other Red Cross blood regions and non-Red Cross blood centers are also currently experiencing low supplies. “We need an immediate increase in donor appointments and turnout at scheduled blood drives to replenish depleted supplies to meet the needs of patients at area hospitals. We need weeks of sustained strong donor turnout to replenish supplies. If you cannot donate next week, be assured we still need in days and weeks to come,” he noted.

            Individuals can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-700-733-2767) or go online at to find blood drives in their area and schedule an appointment. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-in donors are welcome.

The Greater Alleghenies Region has five platelet donor locations in Altoona, Beaver, Greensburg, Johnstown and State College, Pa. To make a platelet donation appointment, please call 1 (800) 542-5663, extension 2637.