The American Red Cross is running low on life-saving donations, and the cold weather is partially to blame. Ice and snow have canceled hundreds of blood drives this winter, so there is an urgent need for donors.
"We need 500 to 600 units a day to supply our local hospitals with the blood they need, and we are nowhere close to that number right now," said Red Cross spokeswoman Regina Conway.
In fact, the blood supply at the Red Cross is down by 2,000 units this winter. Just in the past week, icy weather canceled 25 blood drives in Middle Tennessee.
"We say every one donation can save up to three people. So that is a serious amount of units that went uncollected during the month of March," Conway said.
The Red Cross is putting out the call to roll up your sleeves and donate. Bob Gray has been a blood donor for years and says it is a great way to give back.
"You know, everything is so third-party. If I donate money, all I have to do is write out a check or go online and click a few buttons. This is a little more personal," Gray said.
Gray was donating platelets on Thursday.
"My youngest daughter was diagnosed with a form of HLH, which is a really rare form of leukemia. And because I couldn't help her directly, I thought I could do something for somebody else," he said.
His daughter is doing fine now, and Gray said his effort has really been no trouble. It only takes 10 minutes to donate blood and a little longer for platelets.
"Relax, drink a few fluids, which you should, and it is just a matter of you giving up a couple of hours of your time to help somebody else," he said.
"More importantly than the Red Cross needing help, local patients are waiting in our local hospitals, waiting to get the blood and platelets they need to survive," Conway said.
March is Red Cross month, and the organization has made it easy for you to set up an appointment to donate. For more information, visit: http://www.redcross.org/blood.
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