Blood banks hurt by winter storm

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January 22, 2014 3:22:00 PM PST
The latest winter storm may be over, but the effect is lingering on for area blood banks, and it could be a while before they catch up.

The parking lot was pretty much empty at the Red Cross blood center in Philadelphia today. Hospitals depend on a certain number of blood donations per week, so when the supply drops, it can create problems.

So area centers are now putting the word out that they need blood donors.

Rich Cambria was among dozens of Red Cross donors who had to cancel on Tuesday. So he was determined to come today instead, and said it was an easy trip from his South Philadelphia home.

But Cambria was one of few who donated today. The Red Cross lost out on 400 units of blood yesterday when 25 blood drives were canceled due to the storm.

Some were held today, but most beds at the 7th and Spring Garden center were empty.

It was also quiet at the Blood Bank of Delmarva Center in Christiana. The agency's Wilmington center didn't even open yesterday, because all the scheduled donors had canceled.

Supplies were already low following the holidays, and storms that closed roads, businesses, and schools. And now local blood centers are hurting.

Michael Waite from the Blood bank of Delmarva tells us, "We need 350 donors a day on the Delmarva peninsula just to supply our hospitals."

Blood banks often share supplies within the region, but that wasn't possible with Tuesday's storm.

"Anybody that's in that I-95 corridor will have the same problem's we've had," said Waite.

Back in Philadelphia, Cambria hopes to see those who cancelled - as well as some new faces - answer the call.

"People should donate. Make a special effort, because people are not coming out."

So if you are a regular donor and are up to donate again, they'd love to see you. If you have never donated before, these are the general requirements:

-You must be healthy - meaning you are not currently sick. And if you have a chronic condition, it has to be treated and under control
-You must be 17-years-old or older
-You must weigh at least 110 pounds

To book an appointment with the Red Cross visit http://www.redcross.org/blood. For an appointment with the Blood bank of Delmarva, visit http://www.delmarvablood.org or dial 1-888-8blood8.


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