CUSTER COUNTY–A donation shortfall over the winter holidays is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an emergency call for blood donors to give now to prevent a blood shortage from continuing throughout winter and affecting patient care.
The Red Cross collected more than 27,000 fewer blood and platelet donations the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply. During this period, about 1,350 fewer blood drives were hosted by volunteer sponsor groups than required to meet patient needs as busy holiday schedules kept many donors away.
Because blood is a perishable product that can only be supplied by generous volunteers, any disruptions to blood donations – whether from holidays, severe winter weather or even widespread flu – could cause delays in lifesaving medical treatments this winter.
“Many people may not realize that blood products are perishable, and the only source of lifesaving blood for patients is volunteer blood donors,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “When donations decline – as they did around the holidays and may further decline if severe winter weather and flu season pick up – lifesaving medical treatments could be delayed.”
Eligible donors can find a blood 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). Volunteer blood drive hosts are also critically needed to prevent the shortage from worsening this winter.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
2/5/2019: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., St Pius X Catholic Church, 915 E 3rd Street
1/29/2019: 1 p.m. – 6:15 p.m., Municipal Building, 314 S. 10th
2/8/2019: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Broken Bow High School Activities Building, 323 North 7th
2/14/2019: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Community Center, 202 West Kimball
1/28/2019: 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Community Center, 305 Main St.
2/4/2019: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Chadron State Coll. Student Center, 1000 Main Street
2/5/2019: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Chadron State Coll. Student Center, 1000 Main Street
1/30/2019: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Central Valley Auditorium, 310 N. Clair Street, P O BOX 100
2/4/2019: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Knights of Columbus, 410 West Douglas Street
2/11/2019: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., St Paul, 423 Howard Ave
2/15/2019: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Howard County Medical Center, 1113 Sherman St.
1/30/2019: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Winters Building, 204 N. Main
2/13/2019: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Thedford High School, 304 Maple Street
1/31/2019: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Arcadia Public School, 320 W. Owens St.
How to donate blood
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.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
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 CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.