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Red Cross has emergency need for donations

By Staff | Feb 1, 2016

Due to the severe conditions brought on by Storm Jonas, the American Red Cross is reporting that their need for donors of blood and platelets is nearing emergency status. The organization was forced to cancel several blood drives due to the storm.

The weather has canceled more than 300 blood drives across 20 states, resulting in more than 9,500 donations uncollected, further depleting an already low winter supply, according to a recent release by the Red Cross. Blood 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).

In the Greater Alleghenies Red Cross Blood Services Region, 11 blood drives were canceled since Jan. 20, causing over 350 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.

“Blood products are being delivered to hospitals as quickly as donations are coming in,” said Nick Gehrig, communications director, Red Cross Blood Services. “Eligible donors are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now and help ensure blood products are available for patients.”

The Red Cross must collect approximately 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

In order to donate, a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 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 of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a home or work computer prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

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. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Upcoming donation opportunities are available in the local region and include The American Red Cross is Hagerstown Feb. 3 from 12:30 to 6 p.m.; Feb. 6 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Feb. 10 12:30-6 p.m. att at 1131 Conrad Court, Hagerstown. Feb. 15 has a drive at the American Legion, 400 American Legion Avenue, Williamsport, Maryland from 1 to 6:30 p.m.

A drive will be held in Bunker Hill at Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church, 9802 Winchester Avenue, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 13 while there are drives at the VA Medical Center, 510 Butler Ave., Martinsburg from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 1 and at James Rumsey Technical Institute, 3274 Hedgesville Road on Feb. 12 from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In Charles Town, a drive is set on Feb. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. Another is scheduled Feb. 5 at C.W. Shipley Elementary School, 652 Shipley School Road in Harpers Ferry from 1:30-7 p.m. Leetown United Methodist Church, 11133 Leetown Road, Kearneysville, hosts a drive Feb. 12 from 1:30 to 7 p.m.

Call 1-800-RED-CROSS to schedule a donation at any of these drives.