Don’t let snow stop the flow

Published 10:18 am Friday, January 20, 2017

School, work and church weren’t the only things that got canceled last week when the area was blanketed with up to several inches of snow.

Nearly 39 blood drives in the American Red Cross Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Hampton Roads, were canceled due to the snow. That means about 1,000 units of expected blood donations went uncollected.

Blood and plasma donations historically dip in November and December because of donors’ hectic holiday schedules, meaning supplies are now critically low following the snowstorm.

“The demand doesn’t stop because of the weather or the holidays,” Bernadette Jay of the American Red Cross Mid-Atlantic Region said. “Right now, blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in.”

Hampton Roads’ hospitals typically use a total of 500 to 700 pints of blood each day, Jay said. She noted that the Red Cross supplies 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply.

All blood types are needed, and the Red Cross is extending hours at donation centers nationwide to make the process as easy as possible for donors, Jay said.

Giving blood takes a little more than an hour, when you include time for paperwork and refreshments after donating, said Jay. She recommends that eligible donors schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).