Blood supplies in the Triangle are running short after the recent winter storms forced the cancellation of blood drives and kept donors home.
The American Red Cross canceled about 50 blood drives in the Triangle alone, resulting in about 1,400 uncollected pints of blood, said spokeswoman Natividad Lewis.
“Our concern is the blood that has gone uncollected. We are asking those where it’s safe to travel now to make an appointment or reschedule their appointment,” Lewis said. “Blood products are being delivered to the hospital as quickly as they come in, but we need to rebound from the February weather.”
The Red Cross is asking for increased blood and platelet donations in the next month to compensate for nearly 26,400 donations that went uncollected in February across 27 states.
The Rex Hospital Blood Services Donation Center, which supplies Rex and other Triangle hospitals, lost about 70 percent of its expected blood donations during the last two weeks of February, according to Emilie Sanders Watson, donor services coordinator.
Fewer donors showed up at the Rex donation center at 2709 Blue Ridge Road, and 13 of Rex’s mobile blood drives were either canceled or cut short because of the weather.
N.C. State University junior Arianna Nasser donated blood at the Rex Donation Center on Wednesday after two of her school’s scheduled Red Cross blood drives were canceled last month.
“I’ve had family members in hospitals before that needed consistent blood transfusions,” Nasser said. “With the shortage right now, I recognize the need.”
Blood supplies are low at a time when demand has grown. A number of operations were delayed during the harsh weather and rescheduled during March, Watson said.
Those with popular blood types such as O negative, A negative and B negative are specifically asked to donate this month to help close the supply gap. Both Rex and the Red Cross also are in need of platelet donors, because platelets have a shelf life of only five days, while full blood donations last up to 42 days.
Donors must wait at least eight weeks before giving their next full blood donation; however, they may donate platelets every seven days up to 24 times per year.
Watson said platelet donations are crucial for patients with cancer, severe burns or bleeding disorders, and these are people with a consistent need for transfusions.
There is ample opportunity to donate blood locally in the next few weeks with the Red Cross and Rex. Though walk-in donors are often accepted, both organizations ask that people go online or call ahead to schedule appointments and ask any questions about eligibility for blood donation.
Red Cross blood drives
March 18 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors and Women’s Council, 111 Realtors Way
March 17 from 3 to 7:30 p.m. at Turner Memorial Baptist Church, 3704 Benson Road
March 16 from 2 to 6:30 p.m. at White Memorial Presbyterian, 1704 Oberlin Road
March 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at N.C. Department of Public Instruction, 301 N. Wilmington St.
March 17 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Spectrum Properties, 150 Fayetteville St.
March 18 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at NCSU Wellness Village, 2541 Warren Carroll Drive
March 17 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Measurement Inc., 423 Morris St.
March 20 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Riverside High School, 3218 Rose of Sharon Road
American Red Cross Blood Donation Centers
Raleigh Blood Donation Center: 100 Peartree Lane. Hours: Monday, 2:30 to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
North Raleigh Blood Donation Center: 8301 Bandford Way. Hours: Monday, 2:30 to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, 2:30 to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 2:30 to 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the first and third Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cary Blood Donation Center: 3700 Regency Parkway Suite 150. Hours: Monday, 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Thursday, 1:30 to 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and second and fourth Saturdays of the month, 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Durham Blood Donation Center: 4737 University Drive, #3. Hours: Monday, 2:30 to 7 p.m.; Wednesday, 2 to 7 p.m.; Thursday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; second Saturday of the month, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the fourth Sunday of the month, noon to 4:30 p.m.