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:
Friday, Jan. 17, from 1:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Portage in the Fellowship Hall, located at 2637 McCool Road in Portage.
Monday, Jan. 20, from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. at St. Teresa of Avila in the Catholic Student Center, located at 1604 Lincolnway in Valparaiso.
Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Opportunity Enterprises in the Meeting Room, located at 2801 Evans Ave. in Valparaiso.
Wednesday, Jan. 22, from 1:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Kouts High School in the gymnasium foyer, located at 302 E. College Ave. in Kouts.
Wednesday, Jan. 22, from 12:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at Portage Christian School, located at 3040 Arlene St. in Portage. This is a Pint Size Heroes blood drive.
Friday, Jan. 24, from 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the YMCA of Portage, located at 3100 Willowcreek Road in Portage.
Friday, Jan. 24, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in the Cafeteria, located at 1600 Roosevelt Road in Valparaiso. Come to donate at this Future Blood Donors blood drive and receive an American Red Cross water bottle.
Saturday, Jan. 25, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Walmart, located at 2400 Morthland Drive in Valparaiso.
Wednesday, Jan. 29, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Hebron Elementary School in the Cafeteria, located at 307 S. Main St. in Hebron. This is a Pint Size Heroes blood drive.
Thursday, Jan. 30, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at South Haven Elementary School in the gymnasium, located at 395 Midway Drive in Valparaiso. This is a Pint Size Heroes blood drive.
Thursday, Jan. 30, from 9 a.m. until noon at Lakeside Wealth Management, located at 407 W. Indiana Ave. in Chesterton.
Thursday, Jan. 30, from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. at Indiana Furniture and Mattress, located at 1807 E. Lincolnway in Valparaiso.
Thursday, Jan. 30, from 7:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at Wheeler High School in the gymnasium, located at 587 West 300 North in Valparaiso.
Friday, Jan. 31, from 10 a.m. until noon at Addison Pointe Health and Rehabilitation Center, located at 780 Dickinson Road in Chesterton.
How to donate blood
Simply 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 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.
About the American Red Cross
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.