Sara Hernandez has been giving platelets since she was 18 years old.  Photo by Amanda Romney/American Red Cross
Sara Hernandez has been giving platelets since she was 18 years old. Photo by Amanda Romney/American Red Cross

Submitted by Sue Thesenga ARC 

ST. PAUL, MN — The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage and urgently needs blood and platelet donors to give now to avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients. Volunteer blood drive hosts are also critically needed to prevent the shortage from worsening this winter. 

During September and October, the Red Cross collected over 21,000 fewer blood and platelet donations than what hospitals needed. Blood donors of all blood types, especially type O, and platelet donors are urged to make an appointment to donate at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

Fewer blood drives in September and October coupled with hurricanes Michael and Florence, which caused thousands of blood and platelet donations to go uncollected, were key contributing factors to the current blood shortage. 

“This time of year, as many give thanks for family, friends and good health, it’s important to remember that patients across the country cannot survive without your generosity,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “From traumas to ongoing cancer treatments, the need for blood doesn’t stop for the holidays. People can give back – and help those in need – by making a lifesaving blood or platelet donation now and hosting a blood drive in the weeks to come.” 

An additional 4,300 blood drives nationally – and approximately 420 blood drives in this area – are needed in December, January and February to help stop the shortage from continuing throughout winter. Donations often decline during the winter holidays when many groups postpone blood drives while regular donors are busy with holiday activities and travel. Severe winter weather may also cause blood drive cancellations contributing to fewer donations than needed. 

How to help - 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 (1-800-733-2767). 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, from the convenience of a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood Donor App. 

Those interested in hosting a blood drive can learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive this winter, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive

Upcoming blood donation opportunities Nov. 27-Dec. 15 in these county locations:  

Pierce - River Falls, 12/3/2018: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Wellhaven Senior Living, 119 Union St., 12/13/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., River Falls. Library, 140 Union St.

Saint Croix – Baldwin - 12/11/2018: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Western Wisconsin Health, 1100 Bergslien St., Hudson - 11/27/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Walgreens, 141 Carrmichael Road, 11/28/2018: 4 p.m. - 8 p.m., Hudson Middle School, 1300 Carmichael Road, 12/3/2018: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Saint Patrick's Catholic Church, 1500 Vine Street, 12/13/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Red Cedar Canyon Assisted Living, 3001 Hanley Road, 12/14/2018: 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Family Fresh Market, 2351 Coulee Road. New Richmond - 12/6/2018: 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Faith Community, 1040 Paperjack Drive, 12/6/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Culver's, 124 Grant Way, 12/6/2018: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., Faith Community, 1040 Paperjack Drive.