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Winter weather arrives with local blood shortage

Blood supplies have seen a decrease throughout northern New England as snow and ice reached the area early this week. Both blood drives and recent donor appointments have dropped due to hazardous driving conditions and scattered power outages across the Northeast. The need for blood, however, never diminishes. Currently, blood inventories in the Northeast are at a day's supply or less. American Red Cross officials are urging eligible individuals to make an appointment to donate blood in the upcoming days. Those who already have appointments are asked to honor them.

The mission of the American Red Cross Blood Services is to maintain a safe and sufficient blood supply for all those in need. A safe blood supply is one that is available for both routine and emergency needs. This is not something which can be done alone. Everyday, there are thousands of patients in area hospitals relying on the generosity of blood donors.

"The support of the public is crucial in sustaining the blood supply in upcoming days. The need for blood continues day in and day out, despite factors such as weather that are out of anyone's control. We are extremely grateful for those individuals who have donated blood despite these weather conditions," explains Donna M. Morrissey, Director of Corporate Affairs for the American Red Cross Blood Services New England Region.

The American Red Cross holds blood drives in communities across the region. Anyone who is 17 years of age or older, weighs at least 110 pounds, and is in general good health, may be eligible to donate blood. Members of the public are urged to call 1-800-GIVE LIFE for more information regarding eligibility and to find out where to donate.

Two thousand units of blood must be collected everyday across Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut just to meet the basic needs of patients in the 200 area hospitals and medical facilities. There is a 97% chance that someone you know will need a blood transfusion at some point in their lives. Giving blood is a community-wide responsibility. The American Red Cross and local patients are counting on volunteer blood donors to maintain the blood supply throughout the inclement weather.