Red Cross winter blood shortage reaches critical level - WNEM TV 5

Red Cross winter blood shortage reaches critical level

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Source: Red Cross Source: Red Cross

The American Red Cross has reissued an urgent call for blood and platelet donors after severe winter weather and seasonal flu has contributed to a spike in canceled donations.

The organization said more than 550 blood drives have been forced to cancel due to winter weather in January, causing over 16,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected through last week.

In Michigan, ten blood drives have been forced to cancel due to winter weather this month, causing 335 donations to go uncollected.

In addition, bitter cold and widespread flu have contributed to very low turnout at many blood drives.

“Blood and platelet donations are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in,” said Todd Kulman, external communications manager of the Great Lakes Blood Services Region. “Donors are critically needed to restock the shelves for patients in their community as well as areas where donors are unable to give due to inclement weather.”

The Red Cross said they must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations to meet the needs of patients like Finnegan “Finn” Olson.

Finn was born with a rare heart condition. The toddler required several transfusions before, during and after heart transplant surgery.

“Each time Finn received a transfusion, you could see him pink up right away and have significantly more energy,” said his mother, Ali Olson. “We credit blood donation with making Finn stronger and helping keep him alive long enough to receive a new heart. Finn is living proof that blood helps save lives.”

You can make an appointment to donate blood or platelets by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting their website, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS. 

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