Winter Weather Causing Low Blood Donations

BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Winter weather has forced several drivers to steer clear of the roads, and the American Red Cross is being hit especially hard.

Jessica Kartalija reports volunteers can’t get to donation sites and blood supply is at an all-time low.

Cheryl White, 47, relies on blood donations to stay alive.

“In 2009 in March, I was diagnosed with cancer,” said White, a transfusion recipient. “And I’ve gone through quite a few surgeries, and during the last year and a half with the chemo treatment and then the radiation treatment, I have received over 65 units of blood.”

Unfortunately for patients like Cheryl, blood donations are down significantly.

“We have a very immediate and urgent need now,” said Michael Baisey, American Red Cross.

That’s because severe weather has created major problems on area roads, leading volunteers to cut back on donations.

“Because of the weather we’ve seen numerous appointments canceled,” Baisey said. “We’ve seen thousands of donation appointments be canceled or forced to be canceled because our sponsor locations are not able to host a blood drive.”

The American Red Cross says this weather has led to the lowest donations they’ve seen in January in the last 10 years–even more than last year’s blizzard. And they say that’s because this snow is blanketing the entire East Coast, making donations from other regions impossible.

“In many cases, the Red Cross works on a system where if we’re not able to collect blood in our local area, we can often import it from other regions,” Baisey said. But “because the weather is blanketing so much of the country, there’s a shortage nationally.”

More than 16,000 blood donations have not been collected over the past few weeks. Our local Red Cross provides blood to 50 hospitals in our area alone.

As part of WJZ’s Continuing Community Commitment, you can volunteer to give a life.

Sign up today to donate blood Saturday at the Crowne Plaza on Greenspring Drive in Timonium. Meet your favorite WJZ reporters from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Click here for more information.

More from Jessica Kartalija

More From CBS Baltimore

Track Weather On The Go With Our App!
Your Podcast Network

Listen Live