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Red Cross Needs Blood Donors to Help Restock Shelves

Leroy Straight averages 20-24 visits per year to the Donor Center to give platelets.

Following continual brutal weather conditions in many parts of the country that resulted in blood drive cancellations, the American Red Cross has an urgent need for eligible blood and platelet donors to roll up a sleeve to help replenish the blood supply.

Already in March, storms have forced the cancellation of more than 200 blood drives, resulting in nearly 7,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. This shortfall follows more than 26,400 uncollected blood and platelet donations in February due to severe weather across 27 states. Although winter weather has affected donations, hospital patients still need transfusions of blood and platelets.

Blood donors with all types, particularly O negative, A negative, B negative, AB negative and AB positive are especially needed to give in the days and weeks ahead to help restock the shelves. Eligible donors with types O negative, A negative and B negative are encouraged to give double red cells where available.

There is also an urgent need for platelet donors. Platelets are a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, burn victims and bone marrow recipients. Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation, so it is important that eligible platelet donors give as often as they can.

On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals nationwide. It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives in an emergency.

HOW TO DONATE Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given every seven days – up to 24 times a year. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most 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.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit Donors can also use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, which is free and available for download now. It can be found in app stores by searching for American Red Cross, visiting or, or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 for a direct link to download. Message and data rates for texting may apply.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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