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

Man donating blood at the Red Cross

COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 31, 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.

Since the beginning of January, winter storms and freezing temperatures have resulted in more than 600 Red Cross blood drive cancellations and nearly 20,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. In the South Carolina Blood Services Region, severe winter weather forced the cancellation of 27 Red Cross blood drives, resulting in about 1,200 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 Ryan Corcoran, Community CEO 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:

Feb. 1 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Jack Oliver's Pool and Patio
3303 Forest Dr.
Columbia, SC 29204
Feb. 4 11:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. University of South Carolina-College of Nursing
Russell House
Columbia, SC 29208
Feb. 5 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Palmetto Health Richland Medical Center
3301 Harden St.
Columbia, SC 29203
Feb. 5 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Meadow Glen Elementary School
510 Ginny Lane
Lexington, SC 29072
Feb. 5 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Department of Motor Vehicles
10311 Wilson Blvd.
Blythewood, SC 29016
Feb. 6 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Palmetto Health Home Care
1400 Pickens St.
Columbia, SC 29202
Feb. 6 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Dreher High School
701 Adger Road
Columbia, SC 29205
Feb. 7 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Pelion High School
600 Lydia Dr.
Pelion, SC 29123
Feb. 10 4:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. County Emergency Medical SVC
407 Ball Park Road
Lexington, SC 29073

Columbia Donation Center
2751 Bull St., Columbia, S.C. 29201

Blood donations:
Monday-Wednesday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Thursday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 6 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Platelet donations:
Monday-Wednesday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Thursday: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 6 a.m.-1 p.m.

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 @RedCross.