Winter weather intensifying Red Cross blood crisis

As cold temperatures and winter weather conditions move through the country, the American Red Cross and Quad Cities-based ImpactLife continue to urge people to schedule blood donation appointments.

Dangerous snow and ice conditions have contributed to more than 500 blood drive cancellations since the beginning of the year, which has resulted in about 17,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. ImpactLife held blood drives last week at three UnityPoint Health-Trinity hospitals in Rock Island, Bettendorf and Moline. It added additional slots to meet the volunteers high demand.

“I’ve personally been donating blood for about 35 years,” said Stacy Johnson, UnityPoint’s retail and volunteer services coordinator and blood drive organizer. “My dad was a paramedic and a longtime blood donor, so I’ve always understood the importance of donating if you can. In later years, my dad required a blood transfusion which enabled us to have a little more time with him.”

Red Cross officials added that the need for blood is constant; red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days and a whole blood donor is able to donate every 56 days.

Since the Red Cross issued its first-ever blood crisis in January, thousands of generous donors have come forward to give, but patient care remains at risk. The threat of winter weather continues − as well as ongoing complications posed by the omicron variant – and could further complicate efforts to rebuild the blood supply.

More donors are needed to make appointments now for the weeks ahead to help ensure accident victims, cancer patients and new mothers experiencing complicated childbirths have access to lifesaving blood product transfusions without delay. Make an appointment to give blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-733-2767. All who donate blood or platelets to the Red Cross by Feb. 28 will receive an gift card.

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.

Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at

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