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Red Cross: Emergency blood shortage may delay medical procedures


Mon, Jan 8th 2024 01:30 pm

Donors urged to give now as nation faces lowest number of blood donors in decades

√ Chance to help save lives, win trip to Super Bowl LVIII

Submitted by the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is experiencing an emergency blood shortage as the nation faces the lowest number of people giving blood in 20 years. The Red Cross blood supply has fallen to critically low levels across the country, and blood and platelet donors are urged to make a donation appointment to help alleviate the shortage and help ensure lifesaving medical procedures are not put on hold.

Over the past 20 years, the number of people donating blood to the Red Cross has fallen by about 40%. When fewer people donate blood, even small disruptions to blood donations – such as the nearly 7,000-unit shortfall in blood donations the Red Cross experienced between Christmas and New Year’s Day alone – can have a huge impact on the availability of blood products and dramatic consequences for those in need of emergency blood transfusion. 

Blood products are currently going to hospitals faster than blood donations are coming in, and in recent weeks, the Red Cross has had to limit distributions of type O blood products – among the most transfused blood types – to hospitals.

“Small changes in blood donor turnout can have a huge impact on the availability of blood products and dramatic consequences for those in need of an emergency blood transfusion,” said Dr. Eric Gehrie, executive physician director for the Red Cross. “More challenges may lie ahead as the potential for severe winter weather and seasonal illness may compound the dire blood supply situation. Donors of all types – especially those with type O blood and those giving platelets – are urged to give now.”

Who Donations Help

Blood donations made within the Western New York Region help supply all our local hospitals and the patients they serve.

For a Horseheads resident, Dr. Kristina Workman, blood donations saved her life after what should have been the joyous birth of her second daughter, Eva, turned into complications that nearly cost Kristina her life. It took 33 units of blood to save Kristina’s life and ensure that she would be there to raise her daughters with her husband, Jason Harris.

“One thing that really strikes me about blood donation is that you think about saving one person or helping one person to be healthier, but really, I would have been gone,” Kristina said. “I'm very glad that I'm here. I would have been gone and everybody else would have been left with a hole and grief. I don’t know what life would have been like for my husband and my daughters.”

This National Blood Donor month especially, Kristina encourages donors to make and keep appointments in the days and weeks to come to help alleviate the shortage and ensure lifesaving medical care for patients in need.

“It is just not about the life that you are saving, it is about all of the other people that care about that person – and I hope that is a strong motivation for people to donate,” she said. “It is touching a lot of lives. Every single donation has that power.”

Don’t wait – to make an appointment, download the Red Cross blood donor app, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

The Red Cross and the National Football League (NFL) are partnering this January, during National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals to give blood or platelets and help tackle the emergency blood shortage. Those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. For details, visit RedCrossBlood.org/Super Bowl.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities Jan. 8-31:

Erie County


Jan. 10: noon to 6 p.m., Boulevard Mall, 730 Alberta Drive

Jan. 24: noon to 6 p.m., Boulevard Mall, 730 Alberta Drive


Jan. 10: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Mercy Hospital, 565 Abbott Road

Jan. 17: noon to 6 p.m., Kenilworth Fire Dept Co. No. 1, 84 Hawthorne Ave.

Jan. 23: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., MVP Network Consulting, Suite 200, 1485 Niagara St.

Jan. 24: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., WNY Chapter, 786 Delaware Ave.

Jan. 30: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Buffalo State University, LoRusso Alumni & Visitor Center, 667 Grant St.

Jan. 31: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Health Professions HUB, 301 Connecticut St.

•East Aurora

Jan. 18: noon to 5 p.m., Nativity Lutheran Church, 970 E. Main St.

•Grand Island

Jan. 23: 1-6 p.m., Grand Island Firehall, 2275 Baseline Road


Jan. 20: 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., All Saints Lutheran Church, 6065 South Park Ave.

Jan. 22: 1:30-6:30 p.m., Hamburg Public Library, 102 Buffalo St.

•Orchard Park

Jan. 15: 1:30-6:30 p.m., Nativity of Our Lord Roman Catholic Church, 26 Thorn Ave.


Jan. 13: 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Church of the Nativity, 1530 Colvin Blvd.

Jan. 18: 1-6 p.m., Tonawanda Fire Department, Tonawanda Firehall, 44 William St

Niagara County


Jan. 26: 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Lewiston Fire Co. No. 1, 145 N. Sixth St.


Jan. 9: 1-6 p.m., The Dale Association Inc., 33 Ontario St.

Jan. 22: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Lockport Family YMCA, 5833 Snyder Drive.

•North Tonawanda

Jan. 24: noon to 5 p.m., Gratwick Fire Hose Co. No. 6, 110 Ward Road


Jan. 16: 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Youngstown Firehall, 625 3rd St.

More About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow on social media.

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