Donors needed to replenish Red Cross blood supply

MADISON (WITI) -- The American Red Cross is seeking blood and platelet donors to help restock the blood supply for patients in need. Snowstorms and freezing temperatures this year have forced the Red Cross to cancel 1,265 blood drives in 34 states, resulting in 44,300 uncollected blood and platelet donations.

The winter storm that’s hitting the southeast and the East Coast has led to 265 blood drive cancellations and 9,300 lost donations.

“Blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as the donations are coming in,” said Greg Novinska, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Badger-Hawkeye Blood Services Region. “The extraordinary number of cancellations is the equivalent of the Red Cross having to shut down its national operations for three full days.”

The Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood every day for patients at 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country, including 15 in Iowa and 46 in Wisconsin.

All blood types are needed, and donors with O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative are urged to make an appointment to give by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting

Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation. Red blood cells, the oxygen-carrying component of blood, are the most widely transfused blood product, and they have a shelf life of 42 days.

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.