Severe winter weather has curtailed blood-collection efforts, but the need remains and the American Red Cross has issued an “urgent call” for donations, including at upcoming drives in Surry County.
Already in 2018, the weather — including a snowstorm in this area last week — has forced the cancellation of more than 150 such events, causing 5,500-plus blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.
Coupled with this is the fact that seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules collectively contributed to more than 28,000 fewer donations than needed during November and December, with a major shortage resulting.
“Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients,” said Lynn Wilkes of the Carolinas Blood Services Region in Winston-Salem, which handles collections in Surry.
“It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency,” Wilkes added, “and that’s why we’re asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today.”
Donors of all blood types are required to help alleviate the winter shortage. However, there is a more critical need for:
• Platelets — The clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment and always in great demand.
• Type O-negative — The blood type that can be transfused to almost everyone and is what doctors reach for in trauma situations.
• Type B-negative — The type that can be transfused to type B Rh-positive and negative patients.
• Type AB — The plasma variety that can be transfused to almost everyone and given through a platelet or plasma donation, where available, or during a regular blood donation.
While serving local hospitals is the first priority, the Red Cross can move blood products to where they’re needed most, according to Wilkes, the local Red Cross representative.
This allows generous donors throughout the country to contribute to the national blood supply and potentially help patients locally and in storm-affected areas.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ-transplant patients and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease can all require blood to save their lives.
The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals across the country.
Local collection events
Wilkes issued this schedule for upcoming blood drives in Surry:
• Today, 1 to 5:30 p.m., Cedar Ridge Elementary School, 734 Flippin Road, Lowgap.
• Today, 1 to 5:30 p.m., Dobson Elementary School, 400 W. Atkins St.
• Monday, 1 to 5 p.m., White Plains Elementary School, 710 Cadle Ford Road.
• Feb. 1, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Surry County Wellness Program at the County Government Center, 118 Hamby Road, Dobson.
• Feb. 5, 1:30 to 6 p.m., Surry American Red Cross building, 844 Westlake Drive, Mount Airy.
• Feb. 6, 2:30 to 7 p.m., Haymore Memorial Baptist Church, 319 Rockford St., Mount Airy.
• Feb. 8, noon to 4:30 p.m., SouthData, 201 Technology Lane, Mount Airy.
• Feb. 10, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, 593 Pleasant Hill Drive, Elkin.
• Feb. 11, 12:30 to 5 p.m., Bannertown Baptist Church, 1834 Westfield Road, Mount Airy.
• Feb. 11, 1 to 5 p.m., Elkin First Baptist Church, 110 Gwyn Ave.
• Feb. 16, 1 to 5:30 p.m., Mountain Park community drive, 1137 Zephyr-Mountain Park Road, State Road.
• Feb. 19, 1:30 to 6 p.m., Elkin community drive, 946 N. Bridge St.
• Feb. 21, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Surry Community College, 630 S. Main St., Dobson.
• Feb. 25, 12:30 to 5 p.m., Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, 1432 Highway 21, State Road.
• Feb. 25, 12:30 to 5 p.m., Holy Cross Missionary Baptist Church, 344 York Road, Mount Airy.
• Feb. 27, 1 to 5:30 p.m., Franklin Elementary School, 727 S. Franklin Road, Mount Airy.
• Feb. 27, 2:30 to 7 p.m., White Plains Christian School, 609 Old Highway 601, Mount Airy.
Eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to give by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Donation appointments and the completion of a RapidPass are encouraged to help speed up the process. RapidPass lets donors complete a pre-donation reading and answer a health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation.
This can be achieved by visiting redcrossblood.org/rapidpass using a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood Donor App.Don.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.