The Red Cross says there is an urgent need for blood donations nationwide. But storms across the western part of the state have set back donations. Further adding to the diminishing supply, hectic holiday schedules, winter weather and an active cold and flu season collectively contributed to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December. "It's the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, and that's why we're asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today".
Every day in Hampton Roads, the American Red Cross needs to collect 350 pints of blood.
There are a dozen days open for blood donations at the Sonora Blood Donation Center beginning on Friday through the end of the month. Donors can save up to 15 minutes when they donate blood by using RapidPass.
According to the nonprofit's CEO, Ana Montero, since January 1 volunteers responded to more than 35 fires in the state and helped 260 people from 92 families. Numerous donors, Scott said, were new donors, something that is common at high school blood drives.
American Red Cross asks for blood donations nationwide
The only requirements to donate blood are a minimum age of 17, good health and a minimum donor weight of 110 pounds.
"All blood types are needed, especially O-negative, which is a universal blood type and can be used for anyone".
"Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients", said Clifford Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services.
Donors with Type B negative or Type AB were still encouraged to donate, she said.