The latest winter storm has caused the cancellation of more than 300 American Red Cross blood drives in the Southeast and along the East Coast, resulting in about 11,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations since it began on Feb. 11. More cancellations are expected as the storm moves north.
This storm follows an already rough start to 2014 for Red Cross blood collections. Severe winter weather throughout January and into February had already forced the cancellation of blood drives from coast to coast. In fact, from Jan. 2 through Feb. 10, more than 1,000 Red Cross blood drives in 34 states and Washington, D.C. had to be canceled, resulting in about 35,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations.
BLOOD DONORS NEEDED All blood types are needed to help ensure a sufficient blood supply is available for patients. Those in areas unaffected by the storm are asked to make and keep an appointment to give blood or platelets this week. Those in affected areas are urged to make an appointment to give when conditions are safe to do so.
There is an urgent need for blood types O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative. Eligible donors with these blood types are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to give in the coming days.
CIRCULATE THE LOVE When Charlie Fairbank went to the Red Cross to donate blood on Feb. 7, 1957, he knew he would be giving a gift from the heart. Charlie had no idea he would be getting a gift of love in return. It was love at first finger-stick when he entered the health history area and met Nancy Ream. Nancy was volunteering as a nurse that day. She remembers thinking that Charlie was a nice guy as she checked his vital signs, pulse and temperature.
Charlie was still at the blood donation center when Nancy took her break. As they talked, they learned they had a mutual friend. Not long after that, Nancy and Charlie each contacted that mutual friend, hoping to learn more about each other. Just seven months after they met, Charlie and Nancy married on Sept. 7.
Over the years, the Red Cross remained a priority in their lives. In Dec. 2012, Charlie hit a donation milestone – 20 gallons! Two of Charlie and Nancy’s children have continued the family tradition of supporting the Red Cross as blood donors.
HOW TO GIVE For more information about donating blood, or to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, please visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in 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.