Winter weather causes critical blood shortage - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Winter weather causes critical blood shortage

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By Mackenzie Patterson - email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  The winter weather earlier this week has caused blood and platelet donations to drop to a critically low supply.  Chris Weirick was one of a handful of donors visiting a mobile donation center.   He explained donating blood is an easy way to help the community.

"There's really no reason for there to be a blood shortage--there's all of us in the community.  It's easy for us to walk up and donate blood."

That was not the case earlier this week.  Donation centers were forced to close on Monday and Tuesday because of icy road conditions.  Charlene Ferguson, an American Red Cross Team Supervisor, said those two days put a critical dent in donations.

"On an average day, we collect roughly about 1600 pints of blood and missing two days that adds up to about 3200 pints of blood that we didn't get a chance to collect."

Ferguson said the low number of donations might not just be because of the icy conditions.

"If you think about the businesses that we attend that were closed and the schools that were closed, they're playing catch up now.

With such critically low numbers, the American Red Cross is trying to encourage everyone to donate.  Ferguson said that donating one pint of blood can save up to three lives.

"That's what you're doing, you're giving life.  Somebody an extra day, an extra year to be with their family and friends."

Weirick said there are even more pluses.

"It's quick, and it's not painful, and you get to eat cookies at the end."

Donation centers will be open extra hours this weekend just to make up for the lack of donations.  The extra hours are:

Friday 1/14 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 a.m.

Saturday 1/15 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Sunday 1/16 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The Columbus donation center is on 7490 Veterans Parkway Columbus, GA 31909.

For more information about making an appointment and finding a mobile donation center visit: http://www.redcrossblood.org/locations/columbus-donor-center

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