Extreme winter weather has caused a blood supply shortage in the region (and nation) due to numerous blood drive cancellations and lower donor turnout.
"This is my 10th winter here at the Community Blood Bank and I've never seen anything like it," said Dan Desrochers, community relations and marketing director for Community Blood Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania and Western New York. "We've had weather problems every week for at least the past four weeks and we've lost hundreds of donations as a result."
Blood drives will take place on Monday, Feb. 24, at Frewsburg American Legion from 3-6 p.m. and Tuesday at WCA Hospital from 8 a.m. to noon.
Desrochers said this is the first time in years a blood shortage has occurred in February.
"Normally, by this time in February the supply is back up to 100 percent," he said. "But not this year. We sure can use a few extra donations to help save lives."
Maureen Wellman, communications manager for the American Red Cross, said winter storms have caused hundreds of blood drive cancellations over the last few days, causing 2,100 units of blood to go uncollected across New York state.
"That's the equivalent of about a day-and-a-half of collections across New York," Wellman said. "That's a big number for us. Although we are meeting hospital demands, donations are going out pretty much as quickly as they're coming in."
She added that as the weather starts to break, American Red Cross is encouraging people to donate blood and platelets.
A blood drive will be held on Friday, Feb. 21 at the Jamestown American Red Cross from 12:30-5:30 p.m.
When donating blood, an estimated pint is collected.
To schedule an appointment or find a blood drive near you, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or visit www.redcross.org.