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Red Cross working to stay ahead of blood donation shortage

Blood donation shortage

Right now there's an urgent call for help from the Red Cross.

The organization said it's in critical need of blood donations and blames severe winter weather and a nasty flu season for the shortage. this year.

More than 16,500 blood and platelet donations have gone uncollected this month and more than 150 blood drives were forced to cancel earlier this month due to the winter storm that slammed the eastern seaboard.

The shortage is being felt in central New York too. People were out Tuesday evening donating blood at a blood drive at Trinity Church in Clay.

The local Red Cross said it always plans for this kind of situation.

"With the flu being around and the illnesses and a lot of people going to the hospital, the need for the blood is up there," said Alexis McGrath.

McGrath has been helping with the blood drives for 18 years. She said it's common this time of year to see fewer people come in. She actually just for over the flu herself.

"You never know the need of blood until it's your relative that's on that bed and then they're saying we don't have it," McGrath said. "So if the blood's not available, they cant do the surgeries. You can be that one person that could save that persons life."

Ben Carl, one of the donors, said the least he can do is go out and give blood. But he wasn't aware of the critical need this month.

"I wasn't aware at all to be honest. I know, like there's always a need and so that's always on my mind when I receive emails and phone calls and I try to get in here as much as I can, probably every 6 months I'm here," Carl said.

The Red Cross said it must collect 13,000 blood and platelet donations per day to fit the need of patients.

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