Submitted by Sue Thesenga, ARC

ST. PAUL, MN — The American Red Cross is reissuing its emergency call for blood and platelet donors to give now after multiple snow storms, frigid temperatures and the government shutdown further reduced lifesaving donations.

In January, more than 4,600 Red Cross blood and platelet donations went uncollected as blood drives were forced to cancel due to severe winter weather blanketing parts of the U.S., and additional cancellations are expected this week. Weather travel advisories may cause even more donors to delay their planned donations. Donors in areas affected by winter weather are asked to make an appointment now to give once it is safe to travel.

The federal government shutdown also affected donations as more than 4 percent of Red Cross blood collections come from drives sponsored by military and local, state and federal government agencies. About 30 blood drives hosted by federal offices were canceled across the country due to the shutdown, leaving more than 900 donations uncollected.

Right now, Red Cross blood donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in, and there is less than a three-day supply of most blood types on hand. The Red Cross strives to maintain a five-day supply of blood to meet the needs of patients and to be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood products. 

Eligible donors, especially platelet donors and blood donors with type O blood, are urgently needed to help restock the shelves for hospital patients. Donation appointments can be easily scheduled by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

American Red Cross Blood Donation Center - Please check redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS for current blood donation centers days and hours. Chippewa Valley Blood Donation Center, 3485 E. Hamilton Ave., Eau Claire, WI.

Additional blood donation opportunities Jan. 29-Feb. 28:

Dunn County:  Boyceville - 2/8/2019: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Trinity Lutheran Church, 1039 Nordveien Drive. Colfax - 2/25/2019: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Anytime Fitness, 225 E. Bremer Ave. 

Menomonie - 2/1/2019: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., University of Wisconsin Stout, 302 10th Ave. E.

2/18/2019: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Cedar in Menomonie, 2321 Stout Road.

Pierce County: Bay City - 1/29/2019: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Mike's Baytown, W6454 WI-35. 

River Falls - 2/21/2019: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Allina Health River Falls Clinic, 1629 E. Division St.

2/25/2019: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Chippewa Valley Technical College, 500 S. Wasson Lane.

St. Croix County – Baldwin - 2/8/2019: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Western Wisconsin Health, 1100 Bergslien St. Hammond - 2/10/2019: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., 652nd Engineer Company, 1935 Engineer Way. Hudson - 2/8/2019: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1097 Scott Road, 2/15/2019: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Mt. Zion Lutheran Church, 505 13th St. S., 2/21/2019: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Family Fresh Market, 2351 Coulee Road. 2/22/2019: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., County Market, 2310 Crest View Drive. 2/26/2019: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Snap Fitness, 824 Carmichael Road.

2/28/2019: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., United Methodist Church, 1401 Laurel Ave. 

New Richmond - 1/31/2019: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., St. Croix County Services Center, 1752 Dorset Lane. 2/18/2019: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., St. Luke's Lutheran Church, 365 W. River Drive

2/21/2019: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Culver's, 124 Grant Way.

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.