Red Cross in need of blood and platelet donations

American Red Cross is in need of blood donations because they have had to cancel drives due to the winter weather.  (WFSB file photo)

The American Red Cross is in need of blood donations because they have had to cancel drives due to the winter weather.

More than 550 blood drives were canceled due to the weather conditions in January, Red Cross officials said. This number is "more than doubled the number of canceled American Red Cross blood drives."

American Red Cross said these canceled drives resulted in a blood and platelet donation shortfall since earlier this month.

“Blood and platelet donations are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in,” Kelly Isenor, who is the External Communications Manager of the Red Cross Connecticut Blood Services Region said in a statement on Tuesday. “Donors are critically needed to restock the shelves for patients in their community as well as areas where donors are unable to give due to inclement weather.”

Isenor said they need to collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations to meet the needs of patients.

"Platelet donations are always in demand because they are only viable for five days outside of your body,” said Joanne Krekian, account manager for the American Red Cross. "Those donations are used, are needed every single day for cancer patients or people having bone marrow transplants and things like that."

Finnegan “Finn” Olson has a rare heart condition and required "multiple transfusions before, during and after heart transplant surgery last summer."

“Each time Finn received a transfusion, you could see him pink up right away and have significantly more energy,” Finn's mother, Ali Olson said in a statement on Tuesday. “We credit blood donation with making Finn stronger and helping keep him alive long enough to receive a new heart. Finn is living proof that blood helps save lives.”

The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.

Krekian is encouraging everyone to donate and she says don't be nervous if you've never done it before.

"Almost every person I have ever talked to has said, wow that wasn't so bad. That was much easier than I thought it would be,” she said.

To make an appointment for a blood donation, click here or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). For more about the donation requirements, you can click here.

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