Red Cross encourages donations at Local-4-You Blood Drive

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - With severe weather on the way, and more cases of the flu popping up, the Red Cross needs your help to keep the blood supply stocked.

The Red Cross encourages you to consider donating blood this season. (Source: KSNB)

Between Christmas and New Years, 500 blood drives were canceled around the country because of bad weather. Last year's flooding canceled several drives across Nebraska as well.

But that doesn't mean the need is any less.

Blood donations ensure Mary Lanning Healthcare can keep 50 to 70 units of red blood cells on the shelves every week.

"If they don't donate, we don't have anything on our shelves. If we don't have anything on our shelves we can't give it," said Ann McCord, lead tech for transfusion medicine at Mary Lanning. "We can't wait until someone delivers bood if there is a request for a transfusion. If it's urgent it has to be on the shelf."

Just last year, Mary Lanning used 700 units of blood for transfusions.

Cancer patients undergoing radiation and chemo often need blood transfusions. Some mothers who just gave birth may need a transfusion, or people having certain surgeries.

In Nebraska, the Red Cross collects 500 units of blood every day.

"The need is constant. Every day the Red Cross has to collect that 14,000 units. Every two seconds someone in the United States receives a blood transfusion," said Jeremy Aupperlee, account manager for the Red Cross.

Aupperlee said most of their regular donors are farmers. People who donate frequently play a big role in keeping the blood supply steady.

But poor weather and illness can really take their toll on donations, possibly causing a blood shortage.

"It saves three lives. You never know if you may need it or a loved one will need it. So those donors really do make a huge difference."

Local4 will be hosting a blood drive from noon to 7 p.m. on February 25 across the Tri-Cities. You can sign up for one of three locations online.

Grand Island:
Calvary Lutheran Church, 1304 N. Custer St.

Hastings:
First St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 501 N. Burlington

Kearney:
Red Cross Chapter, 520 W. 48th St.

Grand Island:
Calvary Lutheran Church, 1304 N. Custer St.