'We're so low': Weather disrupts blood drives

News-DemocratJanuary 9, 2014 

The extreme cold, snow and wind have lead to canceled blood drives and created a shortage of blood supplies at metro-east hospitals.

A blood drive Thursday was held in the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center bus parked outside Governor French Academy.

"We're so low on blood," said Tony Heap, who organizes Mississippi Valley blood drives.

When schools close due to weather, blood drives scheduled to be held at the schools also are canceled, Heap explained.

Governor French leaders allowed the drive to be held, despite their classes being canceled, Heap said.

Likewise, the American Red Cross across the greater St. Louis area is seeing shortages of blood and platelets.

In Missouri and Illinois, severe winter weather forced the cancellation of nearly 30 blood drives, according to Dan Fox, Red Cross spokesman.

The most in-demand blood types are O positive and negative, A negative and B negative, according to Fox.

But, "All blood is good blood," Heap said Thursday.

Anyone age 17 and older, or a 16 year old with a parent's permission, who weighs more than 110 pounds and is in good general health may qualify to give blood.

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center provides donated blood to hospitals in the metro-east and St. Louis.

For more information about future Mississippi Valley blood drives, visit www.bloodcenter.org.

For more information and to find future Red Cross blood drives, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org.

Contact reporter Maria Hasenstab at mhasenstab@bnd.com or 618-239-2460.

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