Sandy increases need for blood

Published 9:47 am Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy has forced the cancellation of nearly 300 American Red Cross blood drives in 14 states along the East Coast, resulting in a shortfall of nearly 9,000 blood and platelet donations already, according to the American Red Cross.

The shortfall is expected to grow as Sandy is causing power outages and flooding in many areas. All eligible donors in unaffected parts of the country are encouraged to roll up sleeves and give blood or platelets.

“Just as Red Cross volunteers have mobilized to provide disaster relief and other emergency assistance, we are mobilizing blood and platelets donations to ensure patients have access to the potentially lifesaving blood products they need,” said Geoff Kaufmann, CEO of the Red Cross North Central Blood Services Region. “When you donate blood or platelets through the Red Cross, you can help patients in your local community and patients across the country, including those in Hurricane Sandy’s path.”

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All blood types are needed to ensure an adequate blood supply is available during a disaster, especially type O positive, O negative, A negative or B negative blood. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information.

A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in Minnesota), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.


SE Minn. volunteers assist East Coast residents

Four southern Minnesota American Red Cross volunteers have been deployed to the East Coast to help with aid for Hurricane Sandy.

Tom Ranzenberger of Stewartville and Don Whited of Rochester left from Rochester Tuesday, and Craig Dale of New Ulm and Gene Retka of Courtland are departing from Mankato with two of the area’s emergency response vehicles. Almost 200 Red Cross ERVs are mobilizing to distribute meals and relief supplies after the storm passes. Thousands of ready-to-eat meals and relief supplies such as cots and blankets are also being sent into the region.