The Red Cross puts out an urgent call for blood donors - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

The Red Cross puts out an urgent call for blood donors

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The Red Cross is urgently asking individuals across the country to donate blood.

Around 150 blood drives have been canceled in the first month of 2018 across the country, causing over 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.

In Ohio, the regional Red Cross is now down 1,700 units of blood.

Cold weather and winter storms across the nation are taking much of the blame.

"It's carrying over from the holiday season when people were busy and obviously not able to give," said Red Cross Communications Manager Christy Peter. "People have also been sick with the flu, and then of course the cold weather that hit us last week, [and] put us into the situation where we had to put out the urgent call for donors."

Catching up to the deficit is difficult since blood is perishable.

"We have to replenish the supply on almost a daily basis, and so if we can put this call out now we can get people to start coming in and put it at the top of their priority list over the next couple of weeks, that will help us overcome those pints that we weren't able to collect," said Peters.

Though all blood types are needed, the demand is especially high right now for O negative and B negative, as well as for platelet.

The national blood bank is helping to distribute blood to areas that are especially in need, but donors are urgently needed to make sure supplies can continue to meet the demand. 

 "If the community can come forward and give, we can ensure that we keep meeting those needs, it won't even be a question. We'll be able to meet the needs, and of course that's our number one priority," said Peters. "We are gonna meet needs. We are gonna make sure patients have the blood they need."

Healthy individuals 17 and older can donate, as well as 16-year-olds  who have their parent's consent.

There are around 20 blood drives each day across the region.

To find one near you, click here and enter your zip code.

You can also download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App at the App Store or text "BLOODAPP" to 90999.

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