Collecting enough blood to meet the needs of patients has been challenging in recent weeks for the American Red Cross after severe winter weather caused thousands of blood donations to go uncollected. The Red Cross issued a nationwide appeal for blood donors, and one man in Wichita, Kansas answered the call in a very unique way.
A second storm in several days had covered the area in fresh snow and ice. The Central Plains Region of Red Cross Blood Services was forced to cancel several blood drives. Few people were venturing out. But the weather was no challenge for Bill Papineau, a local psychologist, who arrived at the Red Cross Blood Center on his cross-country skis.
Papineau had several patients cancel their appointments with him, so he decided to use the time to strap on his skis and enjoy the weather. After skiing around a local park, he realized he was only a few blocks from the Red Cross, so he elected to ski on over and give blood. Usually donors arrive by car, foot, motorcycle or bike, but Papineau was the first to ski to the site.
“Giving blood is an easy opportunity for us to give back, to make a difference for other people,” Papineau commented. “Only a small percentage of the people who can give blood actually do it. It’s a shame more people don’t avail themselves of the opportunity to help others.”
People are asked to make an appointment to give blood or platelets by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting redcrossblood.org. All blood types are needed, but there is a special need for donors with O-Negative, A-Negative and B-Negative blood.
To give blood, someone must be 17 years of age or older (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Individuals should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when coming to donate.
The Red Cross distributes blood products to approximately 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the United States. People have been responding to the call for blood donors, and the Red Cross is grateful to those who are stepping up to donate blood to help the blood supply recover and return to sufficient levels.