Blood supplies low as winter storm grips region - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Blood supplies low as winter storm grips region

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Recent winter storms hitting metro Atlanta Recent winter storms hitting metro Atlanta
Constance Roman, Blood Drive Supervisor Constance Roman, Blood Drive Supervisor
Lara Gill, Executive Director of the Flint River Chapter of American Red Cross Lara Gill, Executive Director of the Flint River Chapter of American Red Cross
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Another round of winter weather is hurting the blood supply.  The American Red Cross again had to cancel numerous blood drives. 

The sight of needles and blood makes many of us squirm, but the precious fluid is more becoming important than ever.

"This is really saving lives," said Constance Roman, Blood Drive Supervisor at Wednesday's blood Drive at Darton State College. 

Winter weather hitting the nation between January and February has canceled more than 1,000 drives, causing about 35,000 lost blood and platelet donations.  Blood banks are reporting a specific need for O negative, O positive, A negative and B negative blood types.   

"So it affects everyone.  Even though the storm may not hit directly in Albany or Valdosta or the central in these areas, but we are still affected by the storm," said Roman. 

The donors rolled up their sleeves at Darton State College with the hopes of collecting 25 units.  Those donations, like other blood units collected in Georgia, will be processed in Douglasville before getting distributed to about 100 hospitals within the Southern Blood Services Region.  The area includes most of Georgia, parts of South Carolina and stretches down to Florida.

"If we don't have blood, we wouldn't be able to do the surgeries, cancer patients wouldn't be able to get the treatment they need, burn victims won't be able to get the treatment they need," Roman said. 

But all Red Cross blood drives were canceled Wednesday in Metro Atlanta, around Athens and Gainesville because of storms.  51 drives throughout the state were canceled two weeks ago because of winter weather, amounting to thousands of uncollected donations. 

"So far we haven't had any issues right now with the blood making it up to Atlanta," Roman said.  But she said there was two day delay a month ago when storms caused drivers to abandon their vehicles.  "I think that they are prepared this time a little bit better so you won't have all the cars blocking the roads so emergency vehicles and trucks can get through.  And also the blood can get through." 

Blood isn't the only thing ready to head north.

"Right now we're on standby and we've got 4 volunteers who are trained in shelter management that will be available to go north if needed when they open up more shelters tonight," said Lara Gill, Flint River Chapter Executive Director. 

It's part of a partnership between all the American Red Cross chapters.

"We know that if we had a disaster here like this ice storm, we know we would have volunteers from there coming to help us," said Gill. 

But you can help, she said, by donating blood or by becoming a volunteer, and giving light to those in their darkest hour. 

"We're always looking for volunteers and if you're interested in shelter management for training in the future, please contact the local Red Cross office and we will get you the training needed," Gill said.  "So that in the future if we had shelters to open in our area or in other areas of the state that we'd have the trained volunteers necessary to run those shelters." 

To learn about nearby blood drives, or for more information about getting involved, call 1-800-Red Cross or visit www.redcross.org

 

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