As severe winter weather subsides, the American Red Cross is asking eligible blood and platelet donors to help offset a shortfall in donations.
In the Paducah area, severe winter weather forced the cancellation of eight Red Cross blood drives, resulting in about 400 fewer than expected blood donations the past 30 days.
"It's the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives when severe weather hits," said Tim Ryerson, CEO of the Red Cross Tennessee Valley Blood Services Region, in a statement. "Thanks to generous Red Cross blood and platelet donors, blood products were available for patients who still needed transfusions despite the weather. Now we invite those previously 'frozen out' from giving blood or platelets to come in soon."
Platelet donors, as well as blood donors with the most in-demand blood types - O positive and negative, A negative and B negative - are urgently needed to give blood in the days and weeks ahead to offset the shortfall.
Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are constantly needed. Red blood cells, are the most widely transfused blood product and must be transfused within 42 days.
Those interested in donating can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information.