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American Red Cross issues an emergency call for blood and platelet donations during severe winter blood shortage

Blood donations needed now to prevent delays in care for patients like freshman Payton Kannarr

American Red CrossNashville, TN – The American Red Cross has a severe winter blood shortage and is issuing an emergency call for blood and platelet donors to make a donation appointment now and help save patient lives.

Hectic holiday schedules for many regular blood donors contributed to about 37,000 fewer donations in November and December than what was needed.

The 5th Special Forces Group donates blood in support of the local Red Cross. (Staff Sgt. Barbara Ospina)
The 5th Special Forces Group donates blood in support of the local Red Cross. (Staff Sgt. Barbara Ospina)

Snowstorms and severe weather have also impacted donations. Nearly 100 blood drives were forced to cancel in December, resulting in more than 3,100 blood donations going uncollected.

“Blood and platelet donations are critically needed in the coming days so that patients can continue to receive the lifesaving treatments they are counting on,” said Mario Sedlock, director of donor recruitment of the Red Cross Tennessee Valley Blood Services Region. “We encourage donors to invite a family member or friend to donate with them to help meet patient needs. Right now, blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in.”

How to help

Find a blood 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). The Red Cross is extending hours at many donation sites for more donors to give blood or platelets.

Overall, the Red Cross has added nearly 200 hours to blood donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help speed up the donation process.

“In about an hour, you can help save someone’s life. This simple act can have a profound impact on another human being,” said Sedlock.

Who blood donations help

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all require blood to save their lives.

The treatments high school freshman Payton Kannarr receives to fight leukemia cause her blood counts to drop. She currently receives platelet transfusions weekly and red blood cells about every two weeks.

“We have seen firsthand the incredible need for blood products as we have been on this four-year roller coaster journey,” said Amy Kannarr, Payton’s mom. “Through the care and compassion of donors, Payton has been able to enjoy life as a teenager.”

Upcoming blood donation opportunities

Byrd Health Clinic, 7973 Strike Blvd. Fort Campbell, KY 42223
1/6/2017: 10:00am – 3:00pm

Dickson Cumberland Presbyterian, 500 Hwy 70 East Dickson, TN 37055
1/12/2017: 12:30pm – 5:30pm

American Red Cross, 1760 Madison Street Clarksville, TN 37043
1/9/2017: 10:30am – 4:30pm

American Red Cross, 1760 Madison Street Clarksville, TN 37043
1/16/2017: 10:30am – 4:30pm

Governor’s Square Mall, 2801 Wilma Rudolph Blvd. Clarksville, TN 37040
1/16/2017: noon  – 6:00pm

American Red Cross, 1760 Madison Street Clarksville, TN 37043
1/23/2017: 10:30am – 4:30pm

American Red Cross, 1760 Madison St. Clarksville, TN 37043
1/30/2017: 10:30am – 4:30pm

About the American Red Cross

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, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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