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Red Cross winter blood shortage reaches critical level

Severe winter weather, seasonal flu contribute to spike in canceled donations

Ongoing severe winter weather has more than doubled the number of canceled American Red Cross blood drives and the resulting blood and platelet donation shortfall since earlier this month. The Red Cross now considers the situation critical and is reissuing an urgent call for blood and platelet donors.

More than 550 blood drives have been forced to cancel due to winter weather in January, causing over 16,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected through last week. In addition, bitter cold and widespread flu have contributed to very low turnout at many blood drives.

“Blood and platelet donations are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in,” said Laura McGuire, external communications manager of the local Red Cross Blood Services Region.“Donors are critically needed to restock the shelves for patients in their community as well as areas where donors are unable to give due to inclement weather.”

Every day, no matter the weather, the Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations to meet the needs of patients like Finnegan “Finn” Olson. Last January, Finn was born with a rare heart condition. He required multiple transfusions before, during and after heart transplant surgery last summer. Transfusions had an almost immediate effect on his personality and skin’s appearance.

“Each time Finn received a transfusion, you could see him pink up right away and have significantly more energy,” said his mother, Ali Olson. “We credit blood donation with making Finn stronger and helping keep him alive long enough to receive a new heart. Finn is living proof that blood helps save lives.”

Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities Jan. 23 to Feb. 15

Iroquois

Sheldon
2/1/2018: 12:30 p.m. - 6 p.m., Sheldon Community Center, 104 S.Fourth
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Kankakee

Bourbonnais
1/25/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive
1/26/2018: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Bourbonnais Fire Department, 1080 Armour Rd.
2/1/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive
2/8/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive
2/15/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive
2/22/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive

Herscher
2/16/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Trinity Lutheran Church, 225 E. Third

Kankakee
2/7/2018: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Riverside Medical Center, 350 N. Wall

Momence
2/5/2018: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., Momence Fire Department, 15 N Pine

Saint Anne
1/31/2018: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., St Anne Grade School, 333 S St. Louis Ave
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Will

Wilmington
2/13/2018: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Wilmington High School, 209 Wildcat Court

How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.