Winter storms brings call for blood donations

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Right now, the major winter storm is causing some problems with the amount of blood available across the country. Now, the American Red Cross is asking for people here in the Richmond area to step up and give blood.

The blood you give here could be sent to those in the Midwest and north that can not get to the donation sites.

At last check, there was a national blood shortage in supply by almost 14,000 units in January. Those were canceled donations because of the winter storm. In all, the supply for blood in January was at it's lowest level in a decade, all because of the winter weather.

The pictures of the wicked blizzard marching across the country are etched in our minds. There is white out conditions, and the winds are not only blowing the snow, but people around, too.

It all simply too dangerous for anyone to head out and give blood. So now there is a call here locally -- for you to give blood to the American Red Cross -- and help the people slammed by the storm.

"We supply blood all over. So, if you give blood here, it will go to where it's needed," says Rosalyn Andrews with the American Red Cross in Petersburg.

With the nice weather we are having now, and should have for the next week or so, it's time for you to help our neighbors to the north and west.

Though, one problem we are facing here in Central Virginia, is the fact that blood donations have recently gone down. In fact, there was a blood drive in Petersburg last month and the Red Cross did not meet it's goal.

That's because of two things. One being the fact that a lot of people can't donate because they are sick with the flu. The other: the cold weather we had in December and January.

Andrews admits the blood supply problem isn't going to be solved overnight. "It is going to be difficult for a period of time. This winter has been unprecedented."

But you can help turn that around, one person at a time. "All you have to do is be healthy, be 17 years old and weight at least 110 pounds and you can give blood every 56 days," adds Andrews.

You can go to the American Red Cross web site, under All Access on our site, to schedule an appointment. Or, you could go to one of three following blood drives set up in the area:

February 16: Southside Regional Medical Center, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 200 Medical Park Avenue, Petersburg.

February 23: ACE Hardware, 7000 Hardware Road, Prince George.

February 26: Virginia Ruritans Club, 9710 Old Stage Road, Prince George.

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