Winter weather disrupts blood donations

Published 12:54 pm Saturday, February 21, 2015

Since the beginning of the year, widespread flu outbreaks and severe winter weather has prevented blood and platelet donors from making it to scheduled appointments or blood drives. This month alone, over 300 blood drives in 22 states were canceled by bad weather, according to Kristen Hatfield, external communications manager for the American Red Cross.

“With all of the recent storms, we have lost a lot of blood drives,” she said. “The need for blood never takes a day off, not even for a snow day.”

Hatfield also said that more than 9,700 donations of blood have gone uncollected this month, and the number continues to grow with this week’s storms.

Because blood and platelets are perishable and have a shelf-life of five days, she stressed the importance of people making the effort to donate.

“You never know when you or someone you love will need blood,” Hatfield said. “Blood and platelet donors are heroes and help save lives every day.”

Serious concerns have arisen about the blood supply at the American Red Cross, as blood donations are down by about 10 percent across the country. Roughly 600 pints of blood are needed daily in the Mid-Atlantic Region to meet local needs, said Hatfield, and it is estimated that someone in the United States receives a blood transfusion every two seconds of the day.

People of all blood types are encouraged to donate, but Hatfield said the American Red Cross is most in need of Type O negative, A negative and B negative.

“O negative is the only blood type that can be given to all of us, and it makes up approximately 9 percent of the population,” she said.

Weather permitting, those who would like to donate may attend blood drives on Feb. 27, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Sedley Fire Department, 18080 Johnsons Mill Road; March 9, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Village at Woods Edge in Franklin; or several other drives throughout Hampton Roads.

To learn more about donating blood, schedule an appointment or find a blood drive near you, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED-CROS (1-800-733-2767).

“We’ll have some delicious Keebler cookies for donors after they donate,” Hatfield said.