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

College girl donating blood at the Red Cross

CHARLESTON, 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. - 3:00 p.m. ATP Gunshop and Range
1340 College Park Road
Summerville, S.C. 29483
Feb.  2  8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Church of the Holy Cross
2520 Middle St.
Sullivans Island, S.C. 29482
Feb.  2 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. St. Andrew's Parish United Methodist Church
3225 Ashley River Road
Charleston, S.C. 29414
Feb. 3 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Berkeley County Government
1003 Hwy. 52
Moncks Corner, S.C. 29461
Feb.  4 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Berkeley Middle School
320 North Live Oak Dr.
Moncks Corner, S.C. 29461
Feb. 4 8:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. Timberland High School
1418 Gravel Hill Road
Saint Stephen, S.C. 29479
Feb. 5 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Motley Rice LLC
29 Bridgeside Blvd.
Mount Pleasant, S.C. 29464
Feb.  5 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Colleton County High School
150 Cougar Nation Dr.
Walterboro, S.C. 29488
Feb. 7 noon - 5:00 p.m. Beech Hill Elementary School
1001 Beech Hill Road
Summerville, S.C. 29485

West Ashley Donation Center
2000 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. (Harrell Square Shopping Center)

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 and Tuesday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 6 a.m.-1 p.m.

Mt. Pleasant Donation Center
920 Houston Northcutt Blvd. (Village Pointe Shopping Center)
Blood donations:
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 and Tuesday: 11 a.m.-6 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.