The American Red Cross says the need for blood donors is urgent.
According to the national relief organization, the severe winter weather this month in much of the nation served to diminish blood donations. People were also busy with holiday travel last month or too sick with the flu to donate blood, depleting the supplies needed by hospitals, the Red Cross said.
Though the weather has been fairly mild in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, bitter cold, snow and ice in other states canceled more than 200 blood drives. Regular donations are needed from coast to coast to maintain blood and platelet supplies for surgeries, organ transplants, trauma care and cancer treatment in hospitals.
More than 13,000 daily blood donations are necessary for the Red Cross to meet the demands for blood and platelets at 2,600 hospitals across the United States, the organization said. In November and December, blood drives fell short of the need by 28,000 donations.
As the Red Cross offered more local donation opportunities, Steven Walker of Modesto gave a pint Thursday at the donation center on West Orangeburg Avenue.
Walker said he came in because hospitals need his blood type. “I have had surgery myself and I know people need blood,” he said.
The Red Cross made a number of urgent calls for blood last year after donations fell short, leaving some regions with less than a one-day supply.
Christine Welch, communications manager for Red Cross blood donations, said there’s often an urgent need for blood donors in holiday seasons and when schools are on winter break.
In addition, donations are on the decline due to the aging population of regular donors.
“We encourage people to donate blood,” Welch said. “It takes about an hour of their time and I think it helps to know they could save a life with that donation.”
The Red Cross is looking for people to donate all blood types. The need is more critical for platelets and types O negative, B negative, and AB.
The Modesto Blood Donation Center, at 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave., has donation opportunities from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday; 7:45 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday; 12:15 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday; 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Tuesday; 12:15 p..- 7:15 p.m. Wednesday; and 10:45 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday.
Other blood donation sites include:
Turlock Blood Donation Center, 655 E. Hawkeye Ave., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 20.
Ball Corporation, 300 W. Greger St., Oakdale, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday.
Ceres Community Center Battle of the Badges, 2701 Fourth St., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 19.
Newman Fire Department, 1162 N St., 2 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Jan. 24.
Immanuel Christian Reformed Church, 517 Orange Ave., Ripon, 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday.
Sonora Blood Donation Center, 850 Sanguinetti Road, 7:45 p.m.-3 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11:45 a.m.-6:45 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, with more opportunities Jan. 20, 22, 23 and 26.
For more information on blood donations, visit www.redcrossblood.org.