Thousands of lifesaving blood donations have gone uncollected due to drive cancellations forced by the hurricane, but patients still need critical medical care.
As the American Red Cross responds to Hurricane Florence, providing food, shelter and comfort to those affected, blood and platelet donors are urged to give when it’s safe to travel to care for patients in the storm’s path and across the country. People can also help by making a financial donation to support relief efforts.
Hurricane’s impact on blood and platelet donations
Hurricane Florence’s wrath left catastrophic damage behind and also took a toll on blood and platelet donations. Nearly 200 Red Cross blood drives in the Southeast were forced to cancel, resulting in more than 5,200 uncollected blood and platelet donations. In North Carolina, 57 blood drives were called off due to the storm, causing nearly 2,100 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.
“Natural disasters like hurricanes can disrupt blood drives and prevent donors from giving, but hospital patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “There is an especially critical need for platelets to help cancer patients and type O blood donations for ongoing patient care and emergencies. Every donation can be a lifeline for patients.”
How to help
As conditions improve, donors of all blood types are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets and replenish the blood supply. Appointments can be made by using the Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Financial donations are also needed and allow the Red Cross to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Florence by visiting RedCross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Up-to-date information about how the Red Cross is responding to Hurricane Florence is available at RedCross.org.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities, Sept. 20-Oct. 15
There are a number of blood drives across the state in the coming weeks. Click here to see the full list.
How to donate blood
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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.