Health Care

American Red Cross makes urgent request for blood and platelet donations

Weather slows blood donations Red Cross continues urgent call

The American Red Cross issued an urgent call today for blood and platelet donors of all blood types to give now to help address a winter blood donation shortage.

Severe winter weather has had a major impact, with more than 150 blood drives nationwide forced to cancel due to severe cold and snow.

More than 150 drives were canceled across the country, including 10 in NY just last week.

A local organization is seeking blood donors after their supply dipped extremely low at the start of the new year.

Donors can schedule an appointment by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-733-2767. "Sometimes they'll send a friend or family member in their spot to donate so we don't lose that blood product".

Individuals who are as young as 16 years of age (with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood.

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The blood center has themed January, National Blood Donor Month, "Texas Strong".

"We know the weather conditions can discourage people from going out and cause them to cancel appointments, but we really need people to keep those appointments", said Kristen Lane, marketing lead for Central Blood Bank.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute says it is in serious need of O-negative blood donors. By giving platelets regularly, donors can help patients kick cancer and recover from other life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

Type O negative: The blood type that can be transfused to nearly everyone and is what doctors reach for in trauma situations.

"It's an important blood type for emergency situations", Lewis said.