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January 12, 2014

Blood donations down after winter storm

As severe winter weather begins to subside, the American Red Cross is asking all eligible blood and platelet donors to help offset a weather-related shortfall in donations.

Approximately 280 blood drives across 25 states were canceled across the U.S. due to snow and extreme cold. The blood drive cancellations resulted in a shortfall of nearly 8, 400 blood and platelet donations since Jan. 2. In northern Indiana, severe winter weather forced the cancellation of more than 30 Red Cross blood drives, resulting about significantly fewer than expected blood and platelet donations over the past four days.

“It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives when severe weather hits,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO of the Red Cross Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region. “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.”

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.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

• From 3 to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, at the Elks Lodge 66 in the Dining Room, 1100 N. Third St., Logansport.

• From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Ivy Tech Community College in the Cole Family Building, 1 Ivy Tech Way, Logansport.

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