Storm creates dire need for blood donations

For many in Chester County, the recent storm was an inconvenience, but to some, it is a far more serious matter. Due to the storm, more than 100 blood drives were cancelled across the East Coast on March 14. The Penn Jersey Blood Services Region Suffered 50 of those cancellations. These cancellations resulted in a shortfall of nearly 4,500 blood and platelet donations on March 14 alone.

Because of these urgent circumstances the American Red Cross is calling for all eligible blood and platelet donors to make an appointment to help offset the shortfall in donations.

“The need for blood does not get a snow day,” said Alana Mauger, communications manager for the Penn Jersey Blood Services Region, “For those in storm affected areas, please come out to donate when travel is safe. For those in unaffected areas, please help restock the blood shelves for patients now.”

The situation is desperate, and help is needed immediately. In order to stay on track, the Red Cross must receive 1000 units per day. As Mauger explained, “blood has a shelf life, and platelets must be transfused within five days of the donation.” Staying on top of the situation is a constant struggle even in beautiful weather, but the loss of just a day’s donations has put local blood banks well below demand.

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It cannot be overstated how such a simple act can help to save a life. Mauger stressed the need for Type O negative and platelet donations. Type O negative is especially needed as it is universally accepted by people of all blood types, and is therefore kept in emergency rooms. Platelets help blood to clot in order to stop bleeding. A ten minute process could make all the difference to someone who needs it.

The American Red Cross is a national organization, so it can send blood where it is needed. However, when blood is taken from another part of the country, the difference still needs to be made up. Likewise, our local shortage means that blood cannot reach others who may need it outside of the region. Without the help of donors, this local shortage could quickly become a national one—making the current need all the more pressing.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

West Chester Blood Donation Center

523 East Gay St., West Chester

Monday - Thursday: 11:45 a.m. - 7 p.m. (whole blood)

Friday - Sunday: 7:15 a.m. - 3 p.m. (whole blood & platelet pheresis)

Berwyn

March 17: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Berwyn United Methodist Church, 140 Waterloo Ave.

Downingtown

March 17: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Central Presbyterian Church, 100 W. Uwchlan Ave.

March 30/: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., Delaware County Community College, 100 Bond St.

Exton

March 16/: 2:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 104 S. Village Ave.

March 17: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., YMCA Exton, 100 Devon Drive

March 26/: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Wyndham Gardens, 815 N. Pottstown Pike

Lincoln University

March 24: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Lincoln University, 1570 Baltimore Pike

Malvern

March 24: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Workspace Property Trust, 5 Great Valley Parkway

Unionville

March 26: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 109 E. Doe Run Road

West Chester

March 21: 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Chester County Hospital, 701 E. Marshall St.

March 31: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Sts. Simon & Jude, 8 Cavanaugh Court

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.