Sandy leaves Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region with shortfall

By Wendi Keeler, Penn State

The Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross is facing a shortfall of approximately 700 donations in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and looking to boost donor turnout in the area.

Within the 100-county Greater Alleghenies region, a dozen blood drives in four of the six states it covers were canceled, resulting in a shortfall of approximately 400 blood donations. Operation hours were curtailed at seven of the region’s blood drives Oct. 29, representing an additional shortfall estimated at more than 300 donations. The region needs to collect approximately 900 blood and platelet donations daily to meet patient need, according to region representatives.

“The American Red Cross is encouraging blood and platelet donations in the wake of Superstorm Sandy,” said John Hagins, CEO of the region. “While the public has been very supportive so far, additional donors are needed to make up for the shortfall caused by the storm. As Sandy continues to affect the number of people available to donate, hospital patients still need blood and platelets despite the conditions.”

Nationwide, an average of 44,000 blood donations are needed each day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients and children with blood disorders. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

To view a listing of blood drives in the region, go to http://www.redcrossblood.org/greateralleghenies.

To donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief efforts, visit www.redcross.org, call 800-RED CROSS or text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.

The University Park campus is currently in the midst of the Penn State-Michigan State Blood Donor Challenge, which runs through Thursday, Nov. 15. Michigan State leads Penn State 1,264 units to 773, following collection efforts Nov. 8. At University Park, the drive was hampered by the storm, which forced the cancellation of some classes and activities Oct. 29.

The final blood drives for the Challenge will be held:
– 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, Nov. 9
– 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12
– 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13
– 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14
– 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15

Donors will receive pizza and a Challenge T-shirt. All donors should eat well and stay well hydrated before donating. A form of ID is also required; a PSU ID, driver’s license or Red Cross donor card are the preferred methods. Appointments for any blood drive on campus are strongly recommended and can be made by visiting www.psuredcross.org. Donors with appointments are given priority status at drives.

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