Archived Story

Red Cross asks for blood donations

Published 8:22pm Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mother Nature hasn’t been kind to the American Red Cross this winter.

The Red Cross is calling for people to give blood to help make up for a shortage caused by winter weather.

“We’re way behind because of all the horrendous weather we’ve had across the country,” said Freeborn-Mower Executive Director Elaine Hanson.

At the end of January, the Red Cross was about 25,000 units behind goal nationally and about 3,900 units behind goal regionally.

“That’s a lot to try to make up,” Hanson said, adding there’s no substitute for blood donations.

Locally, the cold weather and recent snow storms have kept people from giving at blood drives, and some drives have been canceled. But the problem isn’t limited to Minnesota, as winter storms in the South and East Coast have also added to the shortage.

Despite the shortage, there is some good news. Recently, the local Red Cross has seen several donors reach milestones. Jack Sherman, 87, just reached 25 gallons donated to the Red Cross, but he didn’t know he was close to such a milestone until Red Cross officials told him.

“I had no idea it was that high,” he said.

Sherman, who’s retired from Hormel Foods Corp., has been giving blood since around 1950 and said it’s very easy. Yes, needles are involved, but he said it’s not painful.

“It’s just a pin prick,” he said.

Sherman is o-positive, so he’s a universal donor. Plus, he’s a double red donor, which means his donations are like a two-for-one. Sherman urged others to start giving blood, noting it’s a positive, easy way to make a difference.

“I highly recommend it as something that is very simple to do, and a lot of good comes from it,” Sherman said.

Even at 87, Sherman has no plans of slowing down.

“I’ll keep giving as long as they want it, as long as they’ll take it, as long as I have it to give,” Sheman said.

Hanson urged people to donate blood, adding that it’s always a good time to give.

“The need is constant and the gratification is instant,” she said.

To make an appointment to give blood and be an everyday hero, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).