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Red Cross has urgent need for donated blood and platelets

Originally published: Jan. 16
Last modified: Jan. 16

Heather Samudio

The recent severe winter weather across the United States forced more than 250 blood drives across 25 states to be canceled, resulting in a shortfall of nearly 8,400 blood and platelet donations since Jan. 2.


The American Red Cross is sending out alerts, calling eligible blood and platelet donors and asking everyone to attend a local blood drive to help with the shortfall.


“It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives when severe weather hits,” said Steve Maness, vice president of the Red Cross Southeast Blood Services Division. “Thanks to generous Red Cross blood and platelet donors, blood products were available for patients who still needed transfusions despite the weather. Now we invite those previously frozen out from giving blood or platelets to come in soon.”

 

Where to donate

In Ashe County, three blood drives are planned over the next few weeks.

The Ashe Community blood drive will be held from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at the National Guard Armory in Jefferson.

Another community blood drive is planned for 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at the National Guard Armory in Jefferson.

To schedule an appointment for either community drive, contact Eula Blevins at (336) 982-2164.

Mountain Hearts at Ashe Memorial Hospital will host a blood drive from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at 200 Hospital Avenue in Jefferson.

Individuals may schedule an appointment online at http://www.redcrossblood.org or by calling (800) 733-2767.

 

What is needed

Platelet donors, as well as blood donors with the most in-demand blood types, O positive and negative, A negative and B negative, are urgently needed to give blood in the days and weeks ahead to offset the shortfall.

Platelets, a key-clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are constantly needed. Red blood cells, the oxygen-carrying component of blood, are the most widely transfused blood product and must be transfused within 42 days.

 

How to donate blood

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

High school students and other donors 18 years old and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.


About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.


 
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