Red Cross employee Bob Otwell prepares blood products for distribution to hospitals.
Daniel Cima for the American Red Cross
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Red Cross blood shortage prompts urgent call for donations

01/24/18

ARIZONA — Every two seconds someone in the United States needs a blood donation. This January during National Blood Donor Month, the American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors of all blood types to help address a winter blood donation shortage.

Severe winter weather has had a tremendous impact on blood donations already this year, with more than 150 blood drives forced to cancel, which caused over 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.

“Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients,” said Clifford Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, and that’s why we’re asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today.” 

This is in addition to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules collectively contributing to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.
In fact, Arizona has had the highest number of seasonal cases of influenza in Arizona since influenza test became reportable, with 2,453 cases reported in the last week of December alone, and there are over 700% more flu cases this year compared to last year the Arizona Department of Health reported.
  
Serving local hospitals is the first priority for Red Cross, because it can move blood products to where they’re needed most. This allows generous donors throughout the country to contribute to the national blood supply and potentially help patients locally and in heavily-affected areas.

While all blood types are urgently needed, there is a more critical need for the following blood and donation types right now, platelets, type O negative, type B negative and type AB.

Eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS).

Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass are encouraged to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, by visiting redcrossblood.org/rapidpass, or through the app.

Upcoming local blood donation opportunities in January:
Scottsdale

  • Jan. 29 from 12 - 4:15 p.m., at Appaloosa Library, 7377 E Silverstone Dr

Surprise

  • Jan. 26 from 2 - 6:15 p.m., at Luv2Play, 15495 W Bell Rd, #104

Phoenix

  • Jan. 28 form 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., at Sportsman's Warehouse, 19205 N.27th Avenue

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.