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Red Cross calls for blood and platelet donations after severe winter weather

College girl donating blood at the Red Cross

COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 8, 2014 — As severe winter weather begins to subside, the American Red Cross is asking all eligible blood and platelet donors to help offset a weather-related shortfall in donations.

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 shortfall of nearly 8,400 blood and platelet donations since Jan. 2.

“It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives when severe weather hits,” said Ryan Corcoran, chief executive officer of the Red Cross South Carolina 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.”

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 to offset the shortfall.

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:

1/8 Palmetto Health Richland Medical Center 3301 Harden St. Columbia 11:00 AM 5:00 PM
1/8 Capitol Center 1201 Main St., Suite 2010 Columbia 10:00 AM 3:00 PM
1/9 Oak Pointe Elementary School 1 River Bottom Road Irmo 7:30 AM 12:30 PM
1/10 Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School 3300 West Campus Road West Columbia 9:00 AM 2:00 PM
1/10 Trenholm Plaza 4840 Forest Dr. Columbia 10:00 AM 3:00 PM
1/12 Our Lady Of The Hills Catholic Church 120 Marydale Lane Columbia 8:30 AM 1:30 PM
1/13 Richland County School District One 1616 Richland St. Columbia 9:30 AM 2:30 PM
1/13 Emmanuel Lutheran Church 2491 Emmanuel Church Road West Columbia 3:00 PM 7:30 PM
1/14 Lexington Medical Center Irmo 7035 St. Andrews Road Columbia 9:00 AM 3:00 PM
1/14 SC Probation, Parole & Pardon Services 2221 Devine St. Columbia 9:30 AM 2:30 PM
1/15 ERA Wilder Realty 1129 Sparkleberry Lane Ext. Columbia 10:00 AM 3:00 PM
1/15 BlueCross BlueShield Farrow Road 8901 Farrow Road Columbia 10:00 AM 3:00 PM
1/15 YMCA of Sumter 510 Miller Road Sumter 8:00 AM 1:00 PM
1/16 BlueCross BlueShield Camden 2300 Springdale Dr. Camden 10:00 AM 3:00 PM
1/16 Health and Human Services 1801 Main St. Columbia 10:00 AM 3:00 PM
1/17 SLED 4400 Broad River Road Columbia 10:00 AM 3:00 PM

How to donate blood: Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org 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.

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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossSC.