Update: On January 25 the American Red Cross issued an emergency appeal for blood and platelet donations following recent severe weather that has forced the cancellation of more than 300 blood drives across 20 states. The result is more than 9,500 donations uncollected, further depleting an already low winter supply. Blood donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
12 January 2016 — Every day in January hundreds of additional donations of blood and platelets are urgently needed for patients across the United States.
Severe winter weather in some areas of the country has already forced the cancellation of approximately 30 blood drives this month, resulting in over 1,100 uncollected donations. More cancellations are likely.
Hectic holiday schedules in November and December contributed to about 1,700 fewer blood drives held, and 50,000 less donations collected, than the two previous months.
Meanwhile, blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as they are coming in for patients like 2-year-old Charlie who has leukemia. Click here to meet Charlie and her mom.
Blood and platelet donors of all types are needed to reverse the declining supply and help ensure blood products continue to be available. A shortage can be avoided if at least two more donors – above what’s currently expected – come to donate at every Red Cross blood drive in January.
On average, the Red Cross must collect 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. Blood and platelets are often needed to respond to emergencies large and small, including the personal ones that occur in communities across the country every day involving accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
Eligible blood donors with types O, B negative and A negative blood are encouraged to donate double red cells where available. During a double red cell donation, two units of red blood cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor.