WASHINGTON, D.C. (10/31/12) – Hurricane Sandy has forced the cancellation of hundreds of American Red Cross blood drives in 13 states and the District of Columbia along the East Coast, resulting in a shortfall of thousands of blood and platelet donations already.
The shortfall is expected to grow as Sandy is causing power outages and flooding in many areas. All eligible donors in unaffected parts of the country are encouraged to roll up a sleeve and give blood or platelets.
“Just as Red Cross volunteers have mobilized to provide disaster relief and other emergency assistance, we are mobilizing blood and platelets donations to ensure patients have access to the potentially lifesaving blood products they need,” said Regina Raccuglia, Communications Manager, of the Red Cross Tennessee Valley Blood Services Region “When you donate blood or platelets through the Red Cross, you can help patients in your local community and patients across the country, including those in Hurricane Sandy’s path. At this time, we are strongly encouraging all eligible platelet donors to please roll up their sleeves and help. Platelets only have a shelf life of five days. The platelets we collect primarily help cancer patients going through chemotherapy.”
The Red Cross partners with more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country, providing blood products donated by giving individuals, and specialized laboratory services. While Hurricane Sandy affects the number of people available to donate, patients will still need blood and platelets despite the weather.
All blood types are needed to ensure an adequate blood supply is available during a disaster, especially type O positive, O negative, A negative or B negative blood. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. 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 permission 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.
Information provided by the Red Cross
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