Winter storms and the flu don’t just mean a lot of people are missing work and school – it also means they can’t keep their American Red Cross blood and platelet donation appointments. The Red Cross is urging healthy donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve to help maintain the blood supply for patients in need.

In 2018, severe winter weather forced about 600 blood drives to cancel, resulting in more than 17,500 uncollected blood and platelet donations. And, widespread flu across the U.S. has resulted in lower turnout at blood drives.

Blood donations are needed in the coming days to help replenish the blood supply and ensure patients continue to receive lifesaving treatments. Donors can help even more patients when they invite a loved one, friend or co-worker to give with them.

Make an appointment to donate this winter by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800- RED CROSS (1-800- 733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities Feb. 16-28:

Coshocton County

Coshocton

2/21/2018: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., County Services Building, County Services Building, 724 S. Seventh Room 145

Fresno

2/28/2018: 3 to 8 p.m., Chili Crossroads Bible Church, 29445 County Road 10

Guernsey County

Byesville

2/21/2018: Noon to 6 p.m., Stop Nine Church, 60312 Southgate Road

Quaker City

2/19/2018: 1 to 7 p.m., Quaker City Community, 126 Fair Street

Muskingum County

Dresden

2/24/2018: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Dresden UMC, 1014 Main Street

New Concord

2/28/2018: 2 to 7 p.m., Chess Center, 163 Stormont Street

Zanesville

2/17/2018: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., American Legion Hall, 27 So. Third Street

2/26/2018: 1 to 7 p.m., Trinity United Presbyterian Church, 830 Military Road

2/27/2018: 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Zanesville High School, 1701 Blue Avenue

2/27/2018: 1:30 to 7 p.m., Zanesville High School, 1701 Blue Avenue

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1- 800-RED CROSS (1-800- 733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. 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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at redcrossblood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

Volunteers needed

Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals.

Volunteer transportation specialists play a very important role in ensuring an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position, contact or visit rdcrss.org/driver.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for- profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.