Red Cross plans regional events in January to boost emergency blood supply

The American Red Cross is experiencing an emergency blood shortage as the nation faces the lowest number of people giving blood in 20 years. The Red Cross blood supply has fallen to critically low levels across the country, and blood donors are urged to make a donation appointment to help alleviate the shortage and help ensure lifesaving medical procedures are not put on hold.

Over the last 20 years, the number of people donating blood to the Red Cross has fallen by about 40%. When fewer people donate blood, even small disruptions to blood donations – such as the nearly 7,000-unit shortfall in blood donations the Red Cross experienced between Christmas and New Year’s Day alone – can have a huge impact on the availability of blood products and dramatic consequences for those in need of emergency blood transfusion.

Blood products are currently going to hospitals faster than blood donations are coming in, and in recent weeks, the Red Cross has had to limit distributions of type O blood products – among the most transfused blood types – to hospitals.

“Small changes in blood donor turnout can have a huge impact on the availability of blood products and dramatic consequences for those in need of an emergency blood transfusion,” said Dr. Eric Gehrie, executive physician director for the Red Cross. “More challenges may lie ahead as the potential for severe winter weather and seasonal illness may compound the dire blood supply situation. Donors of all types – especially those with type O blood and those giving platelets – are urged to give now.”

To make an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

The Red Cross and the National Football League (NFL) are partnering this January, during National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals to give blood or platelets and help tackle the emergency blood shortage. Those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. For details, visit Bowl.

American Red Cross, Greater Shenandoah Valley Chapter has organized these donation events in this region:

— Winchester Blood Donation Center on 561 Fortress Drive on January 11 & 12 at 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; January 16, 1-7 p.m.; January 18, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.; January 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; January 23, 1-7 p.m.; January 25, 12-6 p.m.; January 26, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; January 30, 1-7 p.m.;

— Williamsport American Legion, 400 American Legion Avenue on January 16, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

— Hagerstown American Red Cross on 1131 Conrad Court on January 10, 12-6 p.m.; January 17, 12-6 p.m.; January 25, 12-6 p.m.; January 31, 12-6 p.m.

— Martinsburg Board of Realtors at 408 Randolph Street on January 19, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

— Airborne Church at 172 Creative Place in Martinsburg on January 22, 12:30-6 p.m.

— St. John’s Lutheran Church at 101 W. Martin Street, Martinsburg on January 23, 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

— Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department at 510 S. Raleigh Street in Martinsburg on January 29, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

— War Memorial Hospital, 1 Healthy Way, Berkeley Springs, January 26, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.