The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donations to prevent a shortage this winter. Busy holiday schedules in November and December contributed to about 1,700 fewer blood drives held across the country compared to the two previous months, which has resulted in about 50,000 fewer donations and reduced the blood supply.
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).
“A decline in the blood supply after the winter holidays is not uncommon, but it can be replenished when generous volunteers roll up their sleeves to help save lives,” said Rodney Wilson, communications manager for the Red Cross Blood Servies Region. “We encourage our generous donors who are eligible, as well as new donors, to make an appointment to give blood or platelets and help ensure blood products continue to be available for patients. Every two seconds a patient in the U.S. needs blood.”
January is National Blood Donor Month, which has been observed since 1970 with the goal of increasing blood donations during the winter – one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood and platelet donations to meet patient needs. In addition to winter bringing busy holiday schedules for many regular donors, severe winter weather can cancel blood drives, and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, may cause donors to be temporarily unable to give.
Blood and platelet donors of all blood types are urged to make an appointment to donate for patients like Pyper Young, now 7 years old. The chemotherapy that treated Pyper’s brain cancer also caused her to need emergency transfusions to increase her blood levels. The Red Cross must collect about 14,000 donations every day to meet the needs of patients like Pyper.
Upcoming blood drives include one in Swanton at the Swanton Alliance Church’s Epic Center, 124 N. Main St from 12-6 p.m. on Jan. 19. To set an appointment visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code SWANTONCOMMUNITY or call 1-800-Red-Cross. Walk-ins are welcome.