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Marylanders Asked to Roll Up their Sleeves, Donate Blood

Fewer people donated blood during the holidays and because of bad weather, which  has led to a national blood and platelet shortage. (redcross.org)
Fewer people donated blood during the holidays and because of bad weather, which has led to a national blood and platelet shortage. (redcross.org)
January 5, 2017

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for help. The organization needs blood and platelet donors after 37,000 fewer donations than expected came in at blood banks across the nation in November and December.

Joe Zydlo, communications manager with the American Red Cross, said donations are critically needed so that patients can continue to receive lifesaving treatments.

"Any blood type - A, A Positive, O, O Negative, B Negative - any and every blood type is needed,” Zydlo said.

Anyone can go online to RedCrossBlood.org to find the nearest donation site by entering a ZIP Code.

Zydlo said this is the time of the year when blood donations are typically low because of the holidays, and bad weather is an additional factor that often keeps people from getting to donation sites. But the need is there 365 days a year.

"Hospitals don't get a vacation; they don't get to take a holiday,” Zydlo said. "There's patients that need it - cancer patients need platelet donations, too, that's so critical. It could be a life-threatening type of situation."

According to Zydlo, about 20 percent of blood drives are held at schools - so when they're closed, it really makes an impact.

"This is really one of two times of the year when we go into an emergency appeal - where we have this critical, emergency shortage, if you will, and it's really impacted us,” he said.

Snowstorms and severe weather across the country forced nearly 100 blood drives to be canceled in December, Zydlo said, resulting in thousands of potential blood donations going uncollected.



Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD