Weather impacts blood drives

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Severe winter weather throughout January and into February has forced the cancellation of American Red Cross blood drives from coast to coast.

From Jan. 2 through Feb. 10, more than 1,000 Red Cross blood drives in 34 states and Washington, D.C. have been canceled, resulting in about 35,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. The extraordinary number of cancellations is the equivalent of the Red Cross having to shut down its national operations for more than two full days.

“On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 units of blood every day to help patients nationwide,” said Todd Kulman, communications program manager of the Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region. “Regardless of the weather, patients are counting on blood products to be there when needed.”

Nationwide, donations in Jan. 2014 were down about 10 percent when you average typical January donations since 2011. Blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as donations come in. All blood types are needed to help restock Red Cross shelves.

In the 65-county Great Lakes Region, approximately 60 blood drives have been canceled since the beginning of the year, resulting in a shortfall of more than 1,800 uncollected blood and platelet donations in this area.

There is an urgent need for type O negative, O positive, B negative and A negative blood. Type O negative is universal and can likely be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to patients with either Rh positive or negative blood.

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

Here is a list of upcoming blood drives in Osceola and Mecosta counties:

  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at Ferris State University West Campus Community Center, 1414 Family Drive in Big Rapids.
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24, at First United Methodist Church, 304 Elm St. in Big Rapids.
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb, 25, at the Stanwood Eagles, 7200 Stanwood Road in Stanwood.
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at Evart United Methodist Church, 619 Cherry St. in Evart.
  • From 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, Feb.27, at Chippewa Hills High School, 3226 Arthur Road in Remus.
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 19778 US-10 in Reed City.
  • From 1 to 5:45 p.m. on Monday, March 17, at New Hope United Methodist Church, 7296 9 Mile Road in Mecosta.
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 19, at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital, 605 Oak St. in Big Rapids.