The American Red Cross is reissuing its emergency call for blood and platelet donors to give now after multiple snow storms, frigid temperatures and the government shutdown further reduced lifesaving donations.
“Disruptions to blood and platelet donations jeopardize the availability of blood for patients who depend on transfusions for survival,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “We’re grateful for all those who have come out to give since we issued our emergency call and now urge others to come out and give to prevent delays in essential medical care.”
Riverbank High School recently joined the effort, with a blood drive staged there on Thursday, Jan. 31 to help support the Red Cross.
Officials said more than 4600 donations went uncollected in January across the country due to storms and the government shutdown also hurt, as roughly four percent of blood collections come from drives sponsored by military and local, state and federal government agencies.
“As far as Riverbank High, we had a total of 35 donors presenting to donate,” said Veronica Romero-King, RN, of the American Red Cross. “Out of those 35 donors, eight were not eligible to donate.”
The deferrals can come from low iron levels or the potential donor having a slight fever.
“We ended with 24 whole blood units and six units from Power Reds (red cells only) from three donors for a total of 30 units,” Romero-King added.
Among the donors at Riverbank was United States Army Staff Sergeant Pietrobono, a military recruiter who was on campus that day and decided to give when he saw the blood drive in process.
The Red Cross strives to maintain a five-day supply of blood to meet the needs of patients and to be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood products.
All eligible donors, especially platelet donors and blood donors with type O blood, are urgently needed to help restock the shelves for hospital patients. Donation appointments can be easily scheduled by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Locally, donors can plan to attend a drive in Escalon on Tuesday, Feb. 12 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Christian Reformed Church, 2203 California St.; and in Oakdale, on Wednesday, Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gene Bianchi Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave.
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. 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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.
For information about hosting a blood drive, visit the website at RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.
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, visit RedCross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit them on Twitter at @RedCross.