Red Cross needs blood donations in aftermath of winter storms

Winter storms that have slammed Connecticut and much of the East Coast continue to have a negative impact on blood donations, so the American Red Cross is urging all eligible blood donors to help restock its shelves to ensure blood is available when it is needed.

During recent storms from Feb. 11 to 17, winter weather forced the cancellation of almost 400 blood drives from Alabama to Maine, resulting in about 13,500 uncollected units of blood and platelets.

Nationwide impact on donations

Nationwide, from Jan. 2 through Feb. 17, a total of nearly 1,500 Red Cross blood drives in 34 states and Washington, D.C. have been canceled, resulting in about 50,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations.

Since the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 units of blood on average every day for patients at about 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country, these cancellations are the equivalent of the Red Cross having to shut down its national operations for more than three full days.

Certain blood types needed in particular

There remains an urgent need for blood types O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative. Eligible donors with these blood types are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to give in the coming days.

There also is a need for platelet donors to make and keep appointments to give.

Platelets — a key clotting component of blood most often needed by cancer patients — must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are always needed.

How to donate blood

Call 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. 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, 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.

About the American Red Cross

The nonprofit American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.

Learn more about the organization at