01/14/11 This week’s winter storm has forced the cancellation of hundreds of American Red Cross blood drives along the eastern seaboard, causing a shortfall of more than 8,000 blood donations in the southeast and northeast corners of the country.

Red Cross Blood Regions in the southeast reported that more than 6,000 blood donations could not be collected due to the storm which paralyzed the South. In the northeast, Red Cross Blood Regions reported that nearly 2,000 blood donations were not collected Wednesday as the snow was still falling.

“The result of the cancellation of that many blood drives and consequently all those blood donations translates into as many as 24,000 blood products that we now do not have available for patients who may need them,” said Chris Hrouda, executive vice president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “We are asking anyone in these areas who is eligible to give blood to please consider making an appointment to donate as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Across Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, the Red Cross has been forced to cancel 39 blood drives this winter due to winter weather, which results in over 1,600 pints of blood we were not able to collect.

The next two local blood drivers are Thursday, February 3rd at the Knight of Columbus Hall, 901 East Jefferson Street in Plymouth from 11:30 to 5:30.  Ancilla College at 9601 South Union Road will host a blood drive on February 24th from 10 to 3.    

If you’re in an area unaffected by the storms, your donations could help meet the blood needs of those in your local community, or wherever blood is needed is most. There is a particular need for people with O-negative blood to give now. O-negative is the universal blood type which can go to any patient regardless of their blood type. O-negative blood is often used in emergency cases when doctors can’t wait to type a patient’s blood.

There is also a need for people to give platelets <http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/types-donations/platelet-do

nation>  during what is called an apheresis donation. A machine collects

only your platelets and returns the rest of your blood back to you. Many patients who need platelets are undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplant and have weakened immune systems.

To schedule an appointment to donate please call 1-800-RED CROSS

(1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org <http://www.redcrossblood.org/>  for more information.

Come to donate from Jan. 1 – 31 and be entered into a weekly region-wide drawing for a $250 Visa gift card!  In addition, all donors will receive a coupon for a free donut from Dunkin’ Donuts (while supplies last).

To schedule an appointment to donate please call 1-800-RED CROSS

(1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org <http://www.redcrossblood.org/>  for more information. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.

The Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region serves northern and central Indiana and northwestern Ohio, and needs to collect about 500 units of blood a day to meet patient need in more than 60 hospitals.  In addition to providing blood to our community, the American Red Cross also provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.

The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.™