Red Cross in 'urgent' need, four local blood drives this month

This January, National Blood Donor Month, the American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors of all blood types to make an appointment to give now and help address a winter blood donation shortage.

Severe winter weather has had a tremendous impact on blood donations already this year, with more than 150 blood drives forced to cancel causing over 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. This is in addition to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules collectively contributing to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.

In Connecticut, 13 blood drives were forced to cancel due to last week’s winter storm, causing 339 donations to go uncollected.

“Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients,” said Kelly Isenor, External Communications Manager of the Connecticut Blood Services Region. “It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, and that’s why we’re asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today.”

While serving local hospitals is the first priority, the Red Cross can move blood products to where they’re needed most. This allows generous donors throughout the country to contribute to the national blood supply and potentially help patients locally and in storm-affected areas.

While all blood types are urgently needed, there is a more critical need for the following blood and donation types right now:

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 blood type that can be transfused to type B Rh-positive and negative patients;

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

How to help

Eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to  donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800- RED- CROSS (1-800- 733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass are  encouraged to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass lets donors complete the pre- donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, by visiting from the convenience of a mobile device or  computer, or through the Blood Donor App.Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and patients  receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all require blood to save their  lives. The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at  approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in Trumbull:

January 12, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., St. Vincent’s Special Needs Center, 95 Merritt Boulevard;

January 18, 1:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., St. Joseph’s Center, 6448 Main Street;

January 24, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Middlebrook Farms of Trumbull, 2750 Reservoir Ave.;

January 26, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Maefair Health Care Center, 21 Maefair Court.

For the 11th year, the American Red Cross and Dunkin’ Donuts are partnering in January to help increase donations and reward generous donors. Through the Dunkin’ Donors Make a Difference campaign, all those who come to give blood or platelets in January at Red Cross blood drives in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and parts of New York will receive a $5 DD Card. The DD Card can be used toward the purchase of any item at participating Dunkin’ Donuts – including coffee, hot chocolate and baked goods, among other items. In addition, the DD Card features a Red Cross logo, is reloadable and can also be enrolled in the DD Perks® Rewards program.