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Red Cross calls for donations after winter weather causes shortage

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 9, 2014)– Blood donations are down for the Red Cross thanks to the winter storm. They’re asking for donations as soon as possible, and holding several blood drives as well.

The American Red Cross is asking all eligible blood and platelet donors to donate to help build supply back up. 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.

Approximately 280 blood drives across 25 states were canceled across the U.S. due to snow and extreme cold. The blood drive cancellations resulted in a decline of nearly 8, 400 blood and platelet donations since Jan. 2.  In Northern Indiana, severe winter weather forced the cancellation of more than 30 Red Cross blood drives, resulting about significantly fewer than expected blood and platelet donations over the past four days.

“It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives when severe weather hits,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO of the Red Cross Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region. “Thanks to generous Red Cross blood and platelet donors, blood products were available for patients who still needed transfusions despite the weather. Now we invite those previously ‘frozen out’ from giving blood or platelets to come in soon.”

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.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

  • Thursday, Jan. 23, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Indiana University Purdue University in the School of Nursing Break Room, located at 420 University Blvd. in Indianapolis. 
  • Friday, Jan. 24, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Northwest Community High School at the gymnasium, located at 5525 W. 34th St. in Indianapolis.  This blood drive is sponsored by the ROTC.
  • Sunday, Jan. 26, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the First Mennonite Church in the Kindness and Faithfulness Classrooms, located at 4601 Knollton Road in Indianapolis.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 28, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at The Excel Center, located at 5125 Decatur Boulevard in Indianapolis.  Come to donate and receive a t-shirt.

To donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit their website to make an appointment or for more information. 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 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 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.