Bad winter weather through the eastern half of the U.S. has caused the cancelation of more than 14,000 blood and platelet donations, according to the American Red Cross.
They say they haven't seen the blood supply diminish this badly, during this season, for the past ten years.
With more bad weather likely, the Red Cross has put out an appeal for more donations from eligible blood donors "to help boost its blood supply back up to sufficient levels."
In a press release, the Chief Medical Officer of the American Red Cross, Richard Benjamin, said:
"Maintaining sufficient blood to meet patient needs is a delicate balance between supply and demand. When severe weather disrupts that balance, the Red Cross puts out a call to potential blood donors across the country to give blood as soon as possible and help make up the deficit."
The blood and platelets are used for trauma victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, premature babies and for patients suffering from diseases like sickle cell or cancer.
The Red Cross says "blood is perishable and has no substitute. Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days and platelets just five days – they must be replenished constantly."
The Saginaw News reports that the Red Cross is throwing in some extra incentives:
...anyone who attempts to donate blood in January and February have a chance to win an all-expense paid trip for two to see Round 3 Men’s NCAA Championship games in Chicago March 18 – 21. Airfare and a three-night stay at the Downtown Marriott are included.
In addition, all donors have a chance to win free groceries for a month, up to a $250 value, courtesy of Meijer Inc.