American Red Cross in urgent need for blood donations

MILWAUKEE -- The American Red Cross is urgently in need of blood and platelet donors. 

The organization said severe winter weather has had a big impact on donations. More than 150 blood drives around the country have been canceled in recent weeks because of cold or storms. 

Here locally, several have been canceled, according to American Red Cross account manager Lizzie Gill. 

"It's just like with your cell phone battery. You plug it in each night," Gill said. "Blood supply is the same way. It needs to be replenished each day." 

Gill said the dropoff in donations caused by the cold snap came on top of a lack of donors coming forward because of seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules. 

In all, the American Red Cross was more than 28,000 donations short then what was needed in November and December. 

The American Red Cross said it can move blood to where it's needed most around the U.S. 

While all blood types are urgently needed, there is currently a critical need for the following blood and donation types: 

  • Platelets: The clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment and always in great demand. 
  • Type O Negative: The blood type that can be transfused to almost everyone and is what doctors reach for in trauma situations. 
  • Type B negative: The blood type that can be transfused to type B Rh-positive and negative patients. 
  • Type AB: The plasma type that can be transfused to almost everyone and can be donated through a platelet or plasma donation, where available, or during a regular blood donation. 

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). 

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