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Weather cancels blood drives, Red Cross needs help

Weather cancels blood drives, Red Cross needs help

January is National Blood Donor Month and it could not have come at a better time as the American Red Cross faces a winter blood donation shortage.

Donations have been down across the country due to severe winter storms in some areas and the usual holiday season slowdown. More than 150 blood drives have already been cancelled this year causing over 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.

The Red Cross is desperate to find 10 whole blood donors and five plasma donors who can give blood at the Ipswich donor centre as soon as possible.

There are a number of blood drives being held in Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Wyoming, Orleans and Chautauqua Counties over the next few weeks. "Sometimes they'll send a friend or family member in their spot to donate so we don't lose that blood product".

All blood types are needed to help ensure a sufficient blood supply is available for patients - especially platelet and type O negative and B negative donors.

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While all blood and donation types are welcome, there's a critical need for type O-negative and platelets.

Individuals who are as young as 16 years of age (with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood.

The Ipswich Blood Donor Centre is located on Level 1 of the Riverlink Medical Centre.

"It's an important blood type for emergency situations", Lewis said.

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