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Red Cross needs blood donors, especially this time of year

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News

Published on February 27, 2019 with No Comments

American Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood and platelet donors to give now and help mitigate a blood shortage. With holiday scheduling keeping donors busy, the Red Cross collected about 27,000 fewer blood and platelet donations during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s than needed.

Right now, the Red Cross is urging people across the country, especially type O, to schedule an appointment to give. Eligible individuals can make a donation appointment by simply downloading the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

“During the winter months, snow storms, icy road conditions and seasonal illness like the flu often cause blood donors to delay their donations,” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services. “This further exasperates our already depleted blood supply from over the holidays. We are working every day to restock hospitals shelves with lifesaving blood products for patients and right now, we need all healthy, eligible individuals to give blood and platelets as soon as possible to ensure we can meet patient needs.”

The Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to review tips for blood donation during flu season.

Patients rely on blood and platelets every day for accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. Blood products are perishable, and the only source of lifesaving blood for patients is volunteer blood donors.

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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

Donors can help even more people by inviting a family member, friend or co-worker to donate too.

During the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, about 1,350 fewer blood drives were also hosted by volunteer sponsor groups than required to meet patient needs. With more than 80 percent of blood donations made at blood drives organized by volunteer sponsor groups and coordinators, more hosts are needed to hold blood drives in the months ahead.

To learn more about hosting a blood drive and to sign up to sponsor a drive this winter, visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.

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