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Sandy causes shortfall in blood donations

Published 9:20 am, Sunday, November 11, 2012
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Hurricane Sandy forced the cancellation of about 360 American Red Cross blood drives in 13 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in a shortfall of nearly 12,000 blood donations.

More cancellations and additional losses of blood donations are expected while areas deal with the storm's aftermath.

Now that the storm has passed, the Red Cross urges eligible area donors to give blood or platelets as soon as they are able.

"Sandy has affected blood collections along the East Coast," said Donna M. Morrissey, director of communications of the American Red Cross, Northeast Division. "Now that our operations are up and running again, we encourage the community to come forward and help replenish the blood supply."

All blood types are needed to ensure an adequate supply is available during a disaster, especially type O positive, O negative, A negative or B negative blood. Blood has a limited shelf life and platelets have a shelf-life of just five days.

Nationwide around 44,000 blood donations are needed each and every day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients, and children with blood disorders, these patients rely on blood products during their treatment. It is the blood that is already on the shelves that helps save lives before, during and after a disaster.

The American Red Cross is helping people across 13 states with safe shelter, food and comfort as part of a huge disaster response to Sandy. In addition, the organization is providing lifesaving blood for patients in area hospitals, thanks to the help of generous blood donors.

Call 1-800-733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information.

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, 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.

How to Help

The Red Cross mobilized disaster volunteers and is providing help and comfort to people in communities across the Northeast who are coping with damaging winds, flooding and power outages from Hurricane Sandy. The Red Cross is working closely with federal, state and local government officials, as well as community partners to coordinate efforts.

To help people affected by disasters like this, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-733-2767, or text the word REDCROSS.