American Red Cross: Critical Need for Donors

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"Right now, blood donations are being distributed to hospitals as fast as they come in", said Natividad Lewis, a Portland-based spokeswoman for the Red Cross.

Twenty-five blood drives across the state were canceled during last week's storm, leaving the Massachusetts Red Cross 681 donations short.

A major blood shortage is being reported by the American Red Cross, and officials are asking the public to help by donating. The American Red Cross says these affected more than 28,000 fewer donations than needed in November and December.

Eligible donors are strongly encouraged to make an appointment as soon as possible for an upcoming local blood drive.

The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.


The RED25 program is aimed at uniting workplaces, community groups, schools and universities across the country to save lives through blood donations. Platelets are primarily used in the treatment of patients undergoing chemotherapy. "Sometimes they'll send a friend or family member in their spot to donate so we don't lose that blood product".

This has put additional pressure on the nation's blood supply (especially for type O-negative and platelets), which is already trying to recover from lower donor turnout over the holidays. O-negative, the universal blood type that's always in high demand, can be given to patients of any blood type.

Eligible donors must be in good health, at least 17 years old and weigh at least 115 pounds.

Type B negative can be transfused to Rh-positive or negative patients.

Type AB: The plasma type that can be transfused to nearly everyone and can be donated through a platelet or plasma donation, where available, or during a regular blood donation.

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