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Red Cross: Winter storm increases need for blood donation

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The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood donors of all blood types to help address a winter blood donation shortage.

Severe winter weather has had a tremendous impact on blood donations already this year, with more than 150 blood drives forced to cancel causing more than 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. This is in addition to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules collectively contributing to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.

In the Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region, 45 blood drives were forced to cancel due to last week’s winter storm, causing nearly 600 donations to go uncollected.

“Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients,” said Berandette Jay of the Appalachian and Mid-Atlantic Red Cross Blood Services Region. “It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, and that’s why we’re asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today.”

While serving local hospitals is the first priority, the Red Cross can move blood products to where they’re needed most. This allows donors throughout the country to contribute to the national blood supply and potentially help patients locally and in storm-affected areas.

While all blood types are urgently needed, there is a more critical need for Type O negative and Type B negative blood.

Eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free blood donor app, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass are encouraged to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, by visiting redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities include:

Wilson

Jan. 11 — 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Wilson Country Club, 4509 Country Club Drive

Jan. 16 — 2-7 p.m., New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 5142 N.C. 58

Jan. 17 — Noon to 6 p.m.,Wilson Medical Center, 1705 S. Tarboro St.

Jan. 17 — 3-7 p.m., First Christian Church, 207 Tarboro St. NE

Jan. 26 — 7:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Beddingfield High School, 4510 Old Stantonsburg Road

Jan. 30 — 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Joyner’s Funeral Home, 4100 U.S..264 NW

Jan. 31 — 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wilson Operations Center, 1800 Herring Ave.

Middlesex

Jan. 23 — 3-7 p.m., Stony Hill Free Will Baptist Church, 9649 Stony Hill Church Road

Nashville

Jan. 18 — 4-7 p.m., Key Fitness, 145 Nashville Commons Drive

Jan. 27 — 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 1104 Taylor Store Road

Sharpsburg

Jan. 28 — 12:15-4:30 p.m., Memorial Baptist Church, 5399 Old Wilson Road

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