Tifton Gazette

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February 18, 2014

Blood drive today at FUMC in Tifton

TIFTON —

The colder weather, ice and snow storms throughout Georgia have caused more than electrical outages and downed power lines – it's caused a shortage of blood.

Officials from The American Red Cross have called for all eligible blood and platelet donors to help offset a weather-related shortfall in donations.

Since early January, winter storms and freezing temperatures have resulted in more than 600 Red Cross blood drives being cancelled. This means a shortage of nearly 20,000 blood and platelet donations. In Georgia, severe weather caused the cancellation of 51 blood drives, which translates into around 2, 175 fewer donations.

Leana Thomas, with the Albany Red Cross Donor Center, says nearly 280 blood drives in 25 states were cancelled due to bad weather. She said this resulted in a shortfall of nearly 8,400 blood and platelet donations throughout those areas.

The Albany center is conducting its monthly blood drive today at Tifton First United Methodist Church, sponsored this month by the Tift County Sheriff's Office. You can donate from noon to 6 p.m. 

According to a press release from the Red Cross, platelet donors, as well as donors with the most in-demand blood types – O positive and negative, A negative and B negative – are urgently needed to offset the shortfall.

Donations of platelets must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are constantly needed, the release stated. Platelets are a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients.

To donate blood, you can call the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS. A blood donor card or driver's license, or two other forms of identification are needed at check-in. Individuals who are at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to give blood. 

To contact editor Angye Morrison, call 382-4321.

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